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17.06.2014
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High-tech textiles

High-tech textiles go into making a single piece of personal protective equipment that provides protection for the part of a body exposed to risk.

 

High-tech or technical textiles can include:woven and unwoven fabrics and textiles incorporating specific treatments.

 

As a “product”, integral personal protection is defined and achieved based on which areas need to be protected and in which way, and are outlined by engineering groups and expert committees that play a part in technical decision-making processes and in the regulations that need to be implemented.These regulations are what guide us, because we refer to integral protection as protecting from head to toe, correctly and in a balanced way, with constant supervision by a risk assessment engineer for every situation (not following fashion or whims).

 

If we already have rules defined by engineers and expert committees to guide the technical decisions to be implemented in order to reduce risk, given as we will always have them, what more is needed to continue to improve protection? We need experts to develop material that are sufficiently ductile, malleable, resistant, permeable, breathable, transmissive, conductive, absorbent, repellent, visible, retroreflective, comfortable, etc. with which to make protective equipment that by themselves or with the incorporation of certain features provide an active or reactive, automatic and effective response to any perceived deficiencies in critical situations of risk. These are what are known as “high-tech” materials and textiles, which go into making personal protective equipment, offering different solutions and increasing protection to all or most of the body required by its exposure to risk.

 

A good example of this is the high exposure to risk faced by fire-fighters. The performance of current protective clothing and that of futuristic clothing made from experimental “high-tech” materials was compared in a situation of maximum alert. After subjecting them to fire, we found that the dummies dressed in conventional equipment – with a study of their clothing and bodies – showed deterioration, and the parts of their bodies with the greatest exposure were affected by the trauma of impact and concentrated heat. However, the effects on the dummies protected by “high-tech” materials subjected to the same intensity of fire were lower in their clothes, and their bodies were free from damage (they provided the explanation).

 

The high-tech materials used that have an airbag effect provide passive safety and concentration of mass towards parts of the body where greatest temperature concentration is detected. Mass refers to the material from which the equipment is made.

 

The airbag passive safety system took five years to develop before Mercedes Benz installed it in their cars.

 

Is something similar being developed in some laboratory now, allowing fire-fighters to have equipment with a similar or superior guarantee of safety as that offered by cars within five years or less?... They deserve it.

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