Aim: An extremely important property of firefighters’ special clothing is thermal resistance of the clothing materials to heat transfer from radiation or flame. Performing tests with the use of thermal mannequins may contribute to the improvement of clothing sets, as such tests indicate weak points of the tested products. The review article presents information on the testing of special clothing on mannequins and a short history of test stands with the use of thermal mannequins.

Introduction: Using innovative techniques and technologies provides firefighters-rescuers with an appropriate level of safety. Special clothing is a barrier between the human body and the heat and water vapour from the environment. It is this garment that protects the human body from overheating or cooling down.

Methodology: The general test procedure for using thermal mannequins is described in ASTM standards (for instance ASTM F2370 – 10 [1], ASTM F2371 – 10 [2]). Testing of special clothing allowing for an accurate assessment of the degree of protection of the human body against the effects of fire, flame and heat was initiated in the United States. The assumption of these works was to create a mannequin for testing the resistance of clothing equipped with heat sensors to flash fires. Currently, there are around 100 different models of thermal mannequins around the world. Technological progress in the post-war period resulted in the rapid development of mannequins built with a multi-segment structure. This allowed to increase the accuracy of the measurements that simulated heat exchange between the human body and the environment. The data obtained in this manner is repeatable, which allows for standardization of the test requirements for thermal insulation of clothing sets.

Conclusions: Performing tests using thermal mannequins contributes to the improvement of clothing sets in order to increase the safety of the users. The results obtained under the test conditions very accurately indicate the number, location and degree of burns to which the user of such clothing may be exposed.

Keywords: protective clothing, special clothing, thermal mannequin, thermal resistance, test stands to determine thermal loads

Type of article: review article