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May 12, 2010

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SHE 10 – Flaming good protective clothing

Gore is showcasing its new GORE-TEX® Heat & Flame Garments with Gore Antistatic Technology, which is said to feature protection from the weather, flames, electric arc, and electrostatic discharges. SHP visited the Gore stand where the company’s Jim Findlay explained that the garments meet the new 2008 standards EN ISO 14116 and 11612. These supercede EN 533 and 531, although the latter two are still in force, which, according to Findlay, is causing some confusion among specifiers.

He told SHP: “The test method in both sets of standards is the same but the new standards demand more – for example, that the seam of the garments must remain intact.”

To illustrate his points, Findlay showed us a video of various materials being flame-tested. First of all, we saw material that conforms to the older standards being subjected to a high-intensity flame. Within seconds, it had burned away and disintegrated. Similarly, when the same material, this time with a seam, was tested the material again disintegrated, thus rendering the seam ineffective anyway, even if it had passed the test itself.

When the same test was applied to Gore material, instead of burning away it formed a protective char; there was no flaming debris and no hole in the material. The same happened when a combination of Gore materials, all featuring the company’s seam technology, was tested.

Said Findlay: “With the strong interest in flame protection and arc prevention now, we believe the market is right for these products. Increasingly, protection is coming from textiles and the benefit of the durability offered by ours is that the end-user gets better value for money.”

The new fabric is available as both a two-layer and three-layer laminate, comprising a flame-retardant and durable outer-shell fabric laminated to an antistatic GORE-TEX membrane, based on expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE). The outer shell fabric of the product is designed to protect the body of the wearer against the hazards of an electric-arc Class II (7 kA) in a garment assembly. The laminates also offer protection against electrostatic charging thanks to the carbon particles, which are engineered into the membrane structure, adds the company.

The well-known GORE-TEX® membrane is central to the garments, making them, says the company, totally waterproof, windproof, highly breathable, flex-resistant, temperature-stable and resistant to chemicals. The use of the GORE-SEAM® Tape is said to seals the seams so well that they are still reliably sealed for waterproofness after

extended testing and also for flame performance.

To find out more, visit

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