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A look at the challenges of designing protective clothing for fire fighters.

The garments are made from a composite Kevlar/Nomex bi-weave fabric that is both strong and flame resistant. When the fibres are exposed to high temperatures, they separate, forming small air pockets that give greater thermal protection.

The garments are cut by automatic machines from a template stored on a computer. The components are then stitched together on the factory floor, before facing a final destructive testing phase. A special sensor covered mannequin is dressed in the uniforms and torched in a flame filled chamber.
This clip is from:
First broadcast:
5 March 2009

Classroom Ideas

This could be used to study how to design and make a product, considering the properties of textiles and fire-proofing. The weaving process and the testing process incorporating destructive testing could be highlighted. The advantages of multi-layer systems for fabrics could be also be explained.

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