Phase change materials (PCM) have been suggested as a means to increase the thermal protective performance of structural fire fighting protective ensembles (FFPE) by taking advantage of the thermal energy required for to change phase. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) conducted full-scale compartment fire experiments to evaluate the thermal behavior of FFPE samples with PCM added, in a realistic fire fighting environment. Two experiments were conducted, each in a single furnished compartment with one door and one window. FFPE assembly samples with an added mass of PCM equivalent in weight to 10 layers of batting and unmodified FFPE assembly samples were co-located in each compartment. Gas temperatures and heat fluxes were measured in multiple locations, as well as the inner and outer temperature of each FFPE assembly. This report contains analysis of the data collected, details of the fuel load, compartment construction and geometry, and the location and type of instrumentation. The results of these experiments demonstrate that the FFPE with PCM reduced the amount of thermal energy transferred through to the interior surface of the FFPE. However, the FFPE with PCM performed effectively the same as an unmodified FFPE once the compartment reached flashover conditions.
Citation: Technical Note (NIST TN) - 1739
NIST Pub Series: Technical Note (NIST TN)
Pub Type: NIST Pubs
fire fighter protective ensemble, heat stress, heat transfer, personal protective equipment, phase change materials, plate thermometer, reactive cooling systems, thermal environments, thermal injury, total heat flux, turnout gear