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Airflow Extinguishment of Burning Apparel Fabrics. Final Report.



B B. Hibbard, John F. Krasny, E Braun, Richard Peacock


The heat output of a burning fabric, subjected to a frontal airflow at various velocities, was measured behind the burning face of the fabric. Twelve different commerical fabrics were evaluated in this manner on the Apparel Fire Modeling Apparatus (AFMA). When the fabric burned to a given heat output, the selected level of airflow was applied to the face of the burning fabric in an attempt to extinguish the flame. Burn injury area, maximum total heat, and time to extinguishment were determined from AFMA data. The burning fabrics quickly extinguished with an airflow of 213 meters per minute (8 mph) or less in all but one of the fabrics studied. The one exception was an 85/15 cotton/polyester double faced, terry cloth fabric where this and higher airflows only increased the rate of burning. For the eight fabrics investigated which contained cellulose, the maximum total heat and burn injury area increased as fabric weight increased. For most of the fabrics studied, the total heat transferred to the simulated body generally decreased with increasing air velocity. Fabrics were classified into three groups based upon these airflow extinguishment parameters.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) -


air flow, fabric flammability, fabrics, fire suppression, flame extinguishment, heat transfer, polyesters, textiles


Hibbard, B. , Krasny, J. , Braun, E. and Peacock, R. (1981), Airflow Extinguishment of Burning Apparel Fabrics. Final Report., NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed May 30, 2024)


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Created November 30, 1981, Updated October 12, 2021