PROTECTIVE CLOTHING

Protection against the cold and inclement weather

The Institute performs the following certifications:

  • Protective clothing: suits and garments against the cold. (Temperatures between -5 and -50ºC)
  • Protective clothing: protective clothing against cold environments (Temperatures between 10 and -5ºC)
  • Protective gloves against the cold
  • Protective clothing: protection against rain

The following tests are performed before the above certificates can be issued:

  • Thermal resistance (RCT) and resistance to water vapour (RET)
  • Thermal insulation- THERMAL MANNEQUIN
  • Resistance to water penetration (WATER COLUMN)
  • Permeability to air
  • Water-repellent performance (SPRAY TEST)

Mechanical protection

In compliance with the various standards for resistance to cutting by a chainsaw to provide various parts of the body with protection, in addition to certifying protective clothing against entrapment in moving machinery.

Thermal protection

The Institute is approved to issue the following certifications:

  • Protective clothing for operators exposed to heat and flame
  • Protective clothing against heat and flame: clothing, materials and combinations of materials with limited flame-propagation properties.
  • Protective clothing for welders and similar processes
  • Protective clothing for fire-fighters. Performance requirements for protective clothing in fire fighting
  • Protective clothing for fire-fighters. Laboratory test methods and performance requirements for forestry clothing

The above certificates require the following thermal tests to be performed:

  • Convected heat
  • Radiant heat
  • Molten metal splash back (Aluminium and iron)
  • Heat by contact
  • Limited flame propagation
  • Small molten metal splashes

Thermal risk from arc flash

For the study of the behaviour of materials and garments for workers at risk of exposure to electric arc: the test quantifies damage to the material caused by the effects of an electric arc to ensure that the consequences for the exposed worker will not be aggravated by their clothing. The test also studies the transmission of heat flow through the material to quantify the thermal protection provided by the material.

Two methods are available:

  • ATPV. An arc is generated in open air: the electrodes remain in the centre of the installation and the test garment is placed around the electrodes which are separated by 120º. The test is performed at a single amperage of 8kA
  • Box test. A direct arc is generated but contained within a plasterboard box containing the electrodes. Arc energy to the test garment is increased in increments. The test can be performed at two amperages: Class 1: 4kA and Class 2: 7kA

 The burning mannequin test: THERMO-TEX

The mannequin is life-size and equipped with 131 heat flow sensors. It is dressed in the test garment and exposed to a jet of flame at temperatures which simulate real, extreme-case situations. The sensors record the temperature reached on the surface of the mannequin and a computer program translates the data into estimations of first, second and third-degree burns that the wearer would suffer in a real situation.

The results are applicable to the test garments under thermal conditions specified for each test, particularly with respect to heat flow density and the duration and distribution of the flame jet.

The aim of the test is to measure and describe the performance of a garment when exposed to convective and radiant heat under laboratory conditions.

Test results show the total amount of heat energy transferred and the calculated surface area of burns suffered by the wearer and thus the performance of the garment to heat exposure.

Low-visibility protection

High-visibility materials for work wear: photometric requirements for fluorescent and reflective material as new, and after being subjected to abrasion, folding, washing, dry-cleaning, rain, etc.

Chemical protection

  • Protective clothing against chemical liquids: performance requirements for chemical protective clothing which provides limited protection against liquid chemicals (type 6).
  • Protective clothing against solid particles in suspension (type 5).
  • Protective clothing against liquid chemicals: for clothing with liquid-proof joints (type 3) and aerosols (type 4), including garments offering partial protection (type PB (3) and type PB (4)). The following tests are performed:
    • Resistance to  abrasion
    • Resistance to  tearing
    • Resistance to  bursting
    • Liquid and penetration-repellence
    • Resistance to  folding
    • Resistance to  ignition
    • Spray test and jet test

Man-In-Simulant Test (MIST)

The test method evaluates the degree to which chemical vapours can penetrate a suit, performed using methyl salicylate to simulate mustard gas. The test is performed with a full protective suit comprising the suit, gloves, footwear and breathing apparatus and all the necessary connectors worn by a user.

The equipment complements the evaluation of a fabric’s performance against chemical hazards when used in a NBC suit and evaluates the suit and accessories as a whole.

The results are measured by dosimeters located at 30 points around the body and the suit itself to measure the suit’s resistance to chemical penetration. After the test, the dosimeters are removed and analysed on a gas chromatographer.

There is no similar test facility with the capacity and versatility in Spain or Europe to the chamber designed by AITEX. The chamber has been designed to be as versatile as possible and is capable of performing other types of testing which require constant wind velocities.

The main difference between this chamber and others is its volume, but other differences include the range of working temperatures, humidity and wind speeds which combine to make the Institute’s testing facility an extremely powerful research and development facility for protective equipment. 

Electrostatic protection

The Institute can perform a wide range of tests to measure a material’s electro-static properties:

  • Surface resistivity
  • Vertical resistivity
  • Charge dissipation
  • General requirements

Protection for motorcyclists

Protection for motorcyclists often involves devices worn over or under other protective gear. A motorcyclist requires devices which provide the right balance between comfort, protection and ergonomics and test methods are designed to provide data on the degree of protection provided against impact with objects such as safety barriers and other vehicles. The force applied during the test is not comparable to that experienced during an accident but the aim is to design approved protection devices which can reduce the seriousness of an injury received in an accident.

Tests methods are regulated by general requirements depending on the type of protective device.

Reducing impacts.