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Full Ensemble and Bench Scale Testing of Fire Fighter Protective Clothing



D W. Stroup, R A. McLAne


The Thermal Protective Performance (TPP) test was developed to quantify the performance of fire fighter protective clothing ensembles under an intense thermal exposure. This test method has certainly helped to improve the thermal protection of fire fighter protective clothing. However, many fire service burn injuries can be traced to significantly lower thermal exposures than are simulated by the TPP test. A bench scale test method has been developed to evaluate the performance of fire fighter protective clothing at low heat fluxes. In addition, a full scale test apparatus capable of exposing both complete fire fighter ensembles and samples similar to those used in the bench scale test to various heat flux levels is under development. Both of these tests provide temperature measurements on the surface of the outer shell, at locations between the fabric or moisture barrier layers inside the protective clothing system, and at the thermal liner surface. When plotted, these temperature measurements show a detailed picture of how a protective clothing system performs when exposed to a given thermal environment. This report describes comparisons of results obtained using the bench scale test with data from the full-scale test apparatus. The data is also compared to results from a fire fighter protective clothing heat transfer model.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 7467
Report Number


burns (injuries), fire fighters, fire fighting equipment, heat transfer, large scale fire tests, mannequins, protective clothing, test methods, thermal protective performance test


Stroup, D. and McLAne, R. (2007), Full Ensemble and Bench Scale Testing of Fire Fighter Protective Clothing, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed July 23, 2024)


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Created November 1, 2007, Updated July 31, 2009