Fire-resistant elastic fiber
Personal protective equipment (PPE) for essential workers in flammable environment requires two essential traits: fire resistance (FR) and fitting comfort. The fitting comfort is especially an issue for women firefighters, whose protective clothing are not appropriately catered. Elastic fibers in sportswear, such as Lycra, offer superb fitting and comfort, but their FR version is commercially unavailable. The project proposes to apply a FR surface coating on commercially available elastic fibers by depositing a composite layer that thickens explosively upon contacting flame. This way, the flame does not reach to the core of elastic fiber, which fuels up the fire. In addition, our coating has heat-insulating properties, which further delays the detrimental chemical interaction in fire. The project benefits from a team that combines expertise in materials engineering, textile science, and protective clothing with the experience of the industry partner as a woman firefighter and working in the trades.