Home Engineering Thermal Protective Clothing for Firefighters
Although fiber, yarn, and fabric properties have significant effect on thermal insulation characteristics, many researchers have suggested that features of thermal protective clothing also greatly contribute to providing thermal insulation to wearers
[23,382,392,552,553]. Previous researchers have found that clothing features, such as stitch and seam, closures and fit, and microclimate, mainly affect the thermal insulation characteristics of clothing.
Stitch and seam
Thermal protective clothing is usually manufactured through the cut-and-sew process. This process involves the cutting of two-dimensional (2D) fabrics into pieces and then sewing them together to produce a three-dimensional (3D) garment. During the sewing, a thread is inserted via a needle to hold the fabric pieces together. When the sewing thread is inserted via the needle, the needle may strike the assembled fabric and can damage its structure. Due to this structural damage, the strength of the assembled fabric reduces at the seam . As a result, thermal protective clothing can degrade from the seam position when it is exposed to thermal exposure. Hence, thermal protective clothing cannot maintain its integrity, and this results in reduced insulation characteristics. Depending upon the stitch (eg, chain-stitch, lock-stitch, zigzag-stitch) and seam (eg, plain-seam, flat-seam, lapped-seam) types, the thermal insulation characteristics of the clothing can vary . It is suggested to cover the stitched or seamed area using some special type of fabric to enhance the thermal insulation characteristics. It is further expected that stitch-less and seamless thermal protective clothing may provide a better insulation to wearers in comparison to cut and sewn thermal protective clothing [554,556].
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