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Thermal performance of a PCM firefighting suit considering transient periods of fire exposure, post – fire exposure and resting phases

Highlights•Optimal PCM mass choice criterion in function of exposure scenario.•Severe burns promoted after fire exposure by PCM inclusion.•PCM FPC cooling times significantly dependent on PCM choice.AbstractFirefighting scenarios may be characterized by various transient periods (i.e. phases), which consist of diverse environmental conditions. Firefighters usually encounter fire exposure, post fire exposure and resting phases. Development of new and improved protective clothing must be able to provide protection throughout all these phases, as burnouts may still occur after fire exposure due to accumulation of heat in the garment. The incorporation of phase change materials (PCMs) in firefighting garments has been shown to minimize the potential of heat hazards only during fire exposure. Thus to get more knowledge on their thermal performance, in this work, the effect of PCM incorporation in post fire and resting phases were also numerically studied. The numerical code was validated for all phases. Five potential PCM candidates were considered. Exposure phases were characterized by high- medium and low- heat flux intensities (84, 12 and 5 kW/m2) with variable exposure times whilst post –exposure and resting phases where characterized by different wind speeds (i.e. ambient convective coefficients). Optimal PCM masses, times to second and third – degree burns as well as PCM suit cooling times were calculated to reflect thermal protective performance in each respective phase. The data generated allows for PCM short-listing from a set of potential PCM candidates along with its geometrical parameters, considering a wide range of characteristics of the various phases that consist a typical firefighting scenario.


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