Exposure to heat and flames can be deadly. Many people, like firefighters and molten metal workers, face these risks daily; and many of them are not adequately protected. Highly dangerous and potentially life-threatening hazards require the correct kind of physical protection which only specialised personal protective equipment and clothing can provide. Leading global PPE manufacturer and supplier, CHARNAUD® supplies highly specialised, fully certified personal protective clothing and equipment to the most hazardous industries including the molten metal industry and firefighting industry.

Go for Certified Protective Garments

EN ISO 11612 specifies the test methods to measure the performance of fabric used for personal protective garments for protection against heat and flame. The requirements as set out by EN ISO 11612 apply specifically to garments, or clothing, that protect against heat (including radiant heat and convective heat) and flame and molten metal splash. To ascertain the performance capabilities of a fabric, and consequently whether it can/will protect against the intended hazard as part of a garment, it must undergo a range of tests. These test methods are performed in a controlled setting in accordance with those specified by EN ISO 11612. Each test is denoted by a letter (A, B, C, D, E, F) with a number suffix; the number indicates the performance level of the fabric and consequently its rating against a particular hazard. In general, the fabric should not ignite, melt, drip or shrink by more than 5% when exposed to a temperature of 180°C. If the fabric cannot withstand these conditions, no further performance tests will be conducted on the fabric, and it will be deemed an automatic failure to meet any of the safety standards.

Understanding Test Methods and Codes A-E

A: Surface Ignition & Edge Ignition

An open flame is applied to the sample fabric for 10 continuous seconds, either horizontally or laterally. To test the fabric’s surface ignition, an open flame is applied horizontally to the fabric sample.

To achieve a Class A1 rating:

  • The fabric sample should not have a hole of 5-milimetres or larger,
  • The fabric should not ignite or melt,
  • The after-flame should not exceed 2 seconds,
  • The afterglow should not exceed 2 seconds,
  • The flame should not reach the sides (vertical edges) or upper edges of the fabric sample.

To test the fabric’s edge ignition, an open flame is applied laterally to the fabric sample. To achieve a Class A2 rating, the fabric sample must not –

  • Ignite or melt,
  • demonstrate after-flame that exceeds 2 seconds,
  • demonstrate afterglow that exceeds 2 seconds,
  • have flame which reaches the sides (vertical edges) or upper edges.

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B: Convective Heat

To test the heat transmission of a fabric sample, the sample is exposed to an open flame from below. The rise in temperature is measured by a calorimeter on the upper surface of the fabric which is monitored to measure how long it can remain exposed to the open flame from below before the temperature increases by 24°C. If the fabric sample can withstand continuous exposure to open flame for more than 10 seconds, before the temperature increases by 24°C, it is given a rating of B1. Should the fabric sample be able to withstand continuous exposure to open flame for more than 20 seconds, before the temperature increases by 24°C, it is given a rating of B2; and if it can withstand continuous exposure to open flame for more than 21 seconds (before the temperature increases by 24°C) it is rated Class B3.

C: Radiant Heat

A fabric sample is exposed to radiant heat via infrared rays. A calorimeter measures the temperature on the reverse side of the fabric. The fabric sample is observed, and the heat of the reverse side is measured to see how long the fabric sample can withstand radiant heat exposure before its temperature rises by 24°C. The classifications for Radiant Heat are as follows:

C1: 7 < 20 seconds

C2: 20 < 50 seconds

C3: 50 < 95 seconds

C4: 95 seconds +

Molten Aluminium (D), Molten Iron (E) and Contact Heat (F)

To determine what level of protection a fabric sample will offer against molten metal splash, a synthetic membrane which mimics human skin is affixed to the reverse side of the fabric sample. The synthetic membrane is exposed to molten aluminium or iron of increasing volume with each splash until the synthetic membrane is damaged or destroyed. The quantity of molten metal needed to damage the synthetic membrane is also observed.

Molten aluminium is classified as follows: D1 -100 < 200 grams; D2 – 200 <350 grams; D3 – 350 grams and greater. Molten iron is classified as follows: E1 – 60 < 120 grams; E2 – 120 < 200 grams; E3 – 200 grams and greater.

Contact Heat is denoted by ‘F’ and is classified as follows: F1 – 5 < 10 seconds; F2 – 10 < 15 seconds; F3 – 15 seconds or more.

Letter symbols and numbers are used to indicate the performance capabilities of a fabric, and subsequently its performance rating. The fabric’s ratings have a role to play in determining a garment’s rating when it comes to protection against heat and flames, and whether the garment meets the safety certification criteria. Performance ratings or levels inform the user of the garment’s protective capabilities and are a crucial element in determining whether a user can perform their specific job safely while wearing their PPE.

For Quality PPE & PPC – Get in Touch with CHARNAUD®

Choosing to wear uncertified personal protective clothing is a risk to anyone and should be avoided. The safest option and the best investment is to purchase PPE from a reputable manufacturer and supplier. CHARNAUD® has supplied its internationally certified PPE and PPC to several industries across the globe for almost 5 decades. When you choose to wear CHARNAUD® PPE, you are protected by the best industry-leading safety wear on the market. Don’t make the mistake of cutting corners when it comes to your PPE/PPC – invest with the best. Contact CHARNAUD® to find out more about their extensive range of world-class products.

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