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New Textile Research

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A Japanese company has unveiled a lightweight fabric that will offer firefighters protection in their exposure to extremely high temperatures. The company Teijin Techno Products Ltd in collaboration with Akao Co Ltd has launched its newly developed aramid fiber fabric called Triprotech. The two basics features that are of most importance in a fire fighters suit is the property to act as a heat barrier and at the same time offering comfort so as to alleviate fatigue and heatstroke. To find a garment or fiber that can technologically combine these two is quit challenging. These Japanese companies claimed to do exactly that. Akao being a leading company in the manufacture of firefighting apparel and its partner claimed that the suit offers the highest levels of heat-barrier performance in the world, while still remaining comfortable to wear and light weight. A typical firefighter’s suit weighs around 3 kg and any effort to lighten it can undermine its durability, flame-resistance, and heat barrier properties.

However, Triprotech has managed to change the rules. This fabric is basically made of three layers. The outer layer consists of a light barrier made from combined heat-resistant meta-aramid fiber and strong para-aramid fibre, a technology leading to a unique, corrugated-weave structure called techweave, which is a lightweight, thin, and strong fabric. This fabric creates an efficient air layer lining and significantly improves heat-barrier resistance. The middle layer of the fabric is a flame-retardant, moisture permeable and water resistant film aramid fabric. This layer also slows down the thermal conduction to significantly improve heat-barrier and create insulation. The inner layer which comes into contact with the firefighters garments is also weaved using the same technology of Tecwave. The technology permits improved sliding performance at the same time offering reduced friction hence facilitating easier donning compared to conventional suits. This facilitates faster response (BNET).

I am thinking of how the technology used in the making of this fiber can be helpful in a different way are other than fire fighting. What areas other than the fire department are likely to encounter extreme temperatures? This is the question that would guide me to my hypothetical result of the speed racing suits. I and my peers are in the speed racing business and normally accidents are a common site with the speed cars colliding at extremely high speed. The result at times is high combustion that results in busting of flames. The time between which a driver is rescued and the time it takes to combat the fire, sometimes may just make the difference between saving a life and loosing one. There is a new technology developed by the same Japanese company earlier discussed, Teijin Techno Products Ltd, but in conjunction with a different one called Hosokwa Micron Corporation. This involves a new technology of incorporating nanostructure fiber into fire body armors.

The nanostructure fiber is claimed to prevent fire burns by 40% compared to ordinary suits. Nanoparticles developed by the Micron Company are dispersed uniformly in the amirid fiber. Nano particles can be defined as particles having one or more dimensions of the order of 100nm or less. They are considered an invention of modern science and of great interest to chemist and material scientists for their potential as catalyst for speeding up chemical reactions. Due to the chemical nature of flames that are involved in the busting of flames when these cars explode, such a technologically developed fabric would offer high strength, heat resistance, dimensional stability and even chemical resistance. The technology behind the nanonized suit is the uniform dispersion of nanosized carbon particles in the amirid fiber increases the thermal conductivity allowing efficient diffusion and radiation of heat reaching inside the suit. This idea could be far fetched but it could as well be used as a safety precaution to control danger. Japanese are world’s strictest makers of fire suits and this technology goes far to prove that. Although mine is just an idea, something could definitely be borrowed from this (PLASTEMART).

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