Research on Protective Wear Could Keep Firefighters and Other Workers Safer

Public Safety

Researchers at the University of Alberta have solved the mystery of why a high-performance fabric commonly used in firefighting and other protective garments weakens prematurely when it’s exposed to moisture.

The breakthrough helps solve a big safety challenge, says Saiful Hoque, a researcher in the Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences. “As the garment weakens over time, there’s no way to know whether the wearer is still protected or not,” says Hoque, a PhD student in Textile and Apparel Science. “Now we know the root cause, and this gives information to the manufacturers to find a solution to this problem.”

The recent study investigated the accelerated hydrothermal aging of various fabrics typically used as outer shells in clothing for firefighters, oil and gas workers and electricians.

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