Working with molten metal, whether iron, aluminium or copper, is extremely hazardous. Molten metal workers are exposed to flames, radiant heat and molten metal splashes. These occupational hazards can cause severe injury and prove to be fatal. The only way to ensure molten metal workers can perform their work safely, is to provide them with the correct type of specialised personal protective clothing designed for protection against the hazards of molten metal. ALU-SAFE® and ALU-SAFE® DP is a range of head-to-foot® PPE, specifically for molten metal workers, which is fully certified to international standards.

Wear Certified Molten Metal PPE

As previously mentioned, one of the greatest risks faced by molten metal workers is the threat of molten metal splash. Molten metal, like iron and aluminium, can burn skin and cause a lasting injury; and in severe cases it can cause life-threatening injuries. The personal protective equipment worn by molten metal workers should, at the very least, protect against molten metal splash. Through performance testing, a garment  must satisfy the performance criteria as set out in the applicable safety standard. Once the performance capabilities of a garment are established, it is given a rating. This rating indicates to the user to what extent the garment will protect against the thermal hazards associated with molten metal splash The only way to know whether a protective garment will protect against a specific hazard is to subject the garment, or its fabric, to test methods which mimic the real-life hazards.

ASTM F955: Molten Metal Pour Testing

Molten metal PPE and its fabric will undergo several performance tests as part of the safety certification process. One of the most important tests is to ensure the garment and/or the fabric it is made from can withstand exposure to molten metal. ASTM F955 is the test method utilised for evaluating the heat transfer through materials for protective clothing upon contact with molten substances. This is just one test method which is required by ASTM F1002 15 (Standard Performance Specification for Protective Clothing and Materials for Use by Workers Exposed to Specific Molten Substances and Related Thermal Hazards). Molten metal pour testing sees primary materials, such as aluminized fabric, exposed to substances such as molten aluminium, iron, copper, brass and/or other molten substances. The fabric is evaluated to observe what the heat transfer properties are through the primary material (e.g. aluminized fabric) to a molten metal hazard injury to the wearer.

Now Read: The Impact of Personal Protective Garments on Workplace Safety

What Temperature is the Molten Metal Poured At?

ASTM F955 specifies that 1 kilogram/2.2 lb (Imperial Pounds) of molten metal must be poured on to the material from a height of 305 millimetres. The temperature of the molten metal which is poured onto the fabric sample is specific to the type of metal being poured. The metals are poured at a higher temperature than their melting temperature as follows:

  • Aluminium – 1400° F / 760° C
  • Iron – 2800° F / 1538° C
  • Copper – 2100° F / 1149°C

How is the Performance of the Fabric Sample Evaluated?

The fabric sample is affixed to a board which is inclined to 70° in a horizontal orientation to the molten metal pour. A cotton t-shirt swatch is placed between the test fabric and the calorimeter to replicate the type of uniform typically worn by metal workers under their aluminized garments. The insulating board which underpins the fabric sample board base has 2 copper calorimeters embedded in it. During testing the temperature is measured and plotted against the Stoll Curve and recorded as Total Energy (through the fabric sample). The fabric sample is then visually inspected for evidence of breakopen, dripping, charring, melting, shrinkage and other changes as well as any substance adhesion to the fabric/material test sample.

For All Your PPE & PPC Requirements- Get in Touch with CHARNAUD®

Molten metal pour testing is just one of the many performance tests which a fabric is subjected to in order to achieve the requirements of ASTM F1002 15 (Standard Performance Specification for Protective Clothing and Materials for Use by Workers Exposed to Specific Molten Substances and Related Thermal Hazards). Safety standards exist to keep the wearer safe. Wearing uncertified personal protective clothing is a risk in itself, and it is not worth the risk just to save money. You can ensure your employees are properly protected against the hazards of their job by equipping them with certified PPE.

All CHARNAUD® products within their extensive ranges are fully certified to American and European safety standards. Your CHARNAUD® representative is waiting to discuss the needs of your employees and guide you to making the best choice when it comes to protecting them in the workplace.

Now Read: Safety Footwear Standard: EN ISO 20345: 2011