TECGEN71 OUTER SHELL
As an industry, we have been trained to think that you have to sacrifice thermal protective performance (TPP) in order to achieve maximum total heat loss (THL). Introducing a game changer for the fire industry, TECGEN71.
Our exclusive outer shell is designed to lessen heat stress by reducing weight and increasing flexibility.
Certified to 1971.
More about this product
TECGEN71 features rip twill construction that puts the proven strength of 60/40 Kevlar®/Nomex® on the face of the fabric, while creating a super structure of the TECGEN® fiber inside. This combination provides a lightweight solution, weighing in at 6.5 oz/yd2 .
TECGEN71 Composites vs. Typical Combinations:
Without sacrificing Thermal Protective Performance
WHAT IS TPP AND THL?
From the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and FEMA, Thermal Protective Performance (TPP) “measures how well a fabric protects the wearer against second-degree burns in a flash fire. The higher the TPP value, the more thermal protection the fabric provides relative to other fabrics.”
Total Heat Loss (THL) measures breathability, or the ability of the total composite system to allow heat and moisture to evaporate. Breathability is a key factor in reducing heat stress.
The THL average of all the certified composites in the current NFPA 1971 standard is 248.4 with a TPP average of 43.0.
Most turnout gear options focus on TPP or reducing the weight as it is difficult to attain both measurements.
TECGEN71 IS THE ANOMALY.
The lighter weight total composite system allows more breathability and flexibility, yielding a 48% higher THL without sacrificing TPP or durability.
TURNOUTS DESIGNED WITH
THAN TYPICAL TURNOUTS.
GLIDE ICETM NOMEX® NANO
TECGEN71 COMPOSITE PERFORMANCE
Does More Strength Equal Durability?
The same inverse relations can be said for fabric strength and its impact to comfort by limiting the THL performance of 3-layer composite systems (outer shell, moisture barrier & thermal liner). Over the past few years, the industry is seeing stronger outer shells with tensile and tear strength numbers that are 3-4x the requirements in the NFPA 1971 standard.
Do these higher strength numbers provide more durability and if so, what is the trade-off for the increased strength?
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recognizes the importance of fabric strength (tensile and tear strength) and sets minimum requirements for performance. These requirements make outer shells in PPE the strongest materials in any industry.
Based on our years of manufacturing experience, we, at Fire-Dex, believe that at some point, a fabric is strong enough to withstand the demands of the fire service. Exceeding that point can compromise other more important attributes – mainly comfort and THL.
The ultimate goal for TECGEN71 was to create the most flexible, lightest weight, highest THL composite systems in the market without sacrificing thermal protection or durability in the process. Our focus is to address the leading cause of Line of Duty Deaths since NFPA began tracking in 1979 – Heat Stress.
FABRIC TEAR TESTING
Fabric tear testing is designed to demonstrate the capacity of an outer shell to resist tearing once a rip or cut has occurred. A fabric with adequate tear strength will help keep that rip or cut from becoming larger and potentially compromising the safety of the PPE. Tear strength is tested by a machine that uses a piece of already cut fabric and measures the force it takes to rip the fabric along the initial cut.
Why is Tear Testing important for fire safety? Firefighters are often in situations where small cuts or tears in the outer shell can occur. Wearing fabric that tests poorly can lead to a shorter life-span for turnout gear, other garment failures and increased risk of burns.
TENSILE STRENGTH TESTING
Tensile strength testing is used to measure how much force it takes to pull a whole, uncut or untorn, fabric apart. It is an indicator of how well a garment will stay together when it has forces applied to it from a variety of situations.
In the chart, you will see tensile strength differences between a traditional Kevlar®/Nomex® blend and a typical, high strength blend. While the high strength blend shows visibly higher tensile strength numbers, the Kevlar®/Nomex® blend is the most popular fabric in the market and has been proven over the years to be one of the most durable products ever in the fire service.
Taber Abrasion tests involve mounting an outer shell material to a turntable platform that rotates while two abrading wheels apply pressure to create a rub-wear action against the fabric.
What Should Firefighters Know About the Taber Abrasion Test? While this test is designed to demonstrate accelerated wear testing and may have some value in material evaluation, extreme caution should be taken when comparing results of various fabrics.
***Taber Abrasion is not a required NFPA performance test and has been shown to provide inconsistent results, showing no correlation to durability or actual field performance.
On the Taber Abrasion test, TECGEN71 compares equally or better than comparable outer shells in the market. In the Fire-Dex laboratory, the Taber Abrasion test follows ASTM 3884 using two H-18 abrading wheels and it is weighted with a 500-gram weight on each side.
The following Taber Abrasion samples were tested at 500 cycles on the same machine, strictly following ASTM methods to ensure the most relevant comparison possible.
Taber Abrasion Results @ 500 Cycles:
CIRCULAR BEND TESTING
The Circular Bend Test determines fabric stiffness by measuring the amount of force that is required to push a fabric sample through a round hole. Testing is conducted on a steel platform with a 1.5” diameter hole in the center and uses a plunger to push the fabric through the opening.
This test is not a requirement of NFPA but is the optimal testing method to compare fabric stiffness. Less weight/force equals more flexibility.
Why is it Important to Consider Circular Bend When Purchasing Turnout Gear? Traditional gear can make it difficult to maneuver. While fighting a fire, you should feel comfortable and have a wide range of motion.