In the fire protection industry, fabric testing under rigorous tests, allow us to identify the limits of the fabric. ISO 11611 is one of the certificates under which, tests. Most of the testing under different standards are similar; however, this specific standard must test the welding resistance of a fabric.
For an FR fabric to acquire this certificate, it must clear four different tests: radiant heat, electrical resistance, flame spread, and molten metal. After the test results, the fabrics can fall into different classes according to their performance. The classes fall into two portions: Class 1 and Class 2, both these classes have different requirements. For a fabric to fall into the class 1 under EN ISO 11611, it must have an increase of 24 °C after 7 seconds; for class 2 the fabric will have a slower increase in the rate of temperature as a 24 °C increase will occur after 16 seconds which is more than two times slower than class one.
ISO 11612 radiant heat classification
The following standard does not apply to head, hand, and feet equipment; this standard only applies to the hood, over boots, hoods, and gaiters. The most common clothing that falls under this fabric is a suit, jackets, and coveralls or overalls. Testing for radiant heat is also done under this standard. In this test, the emission infrared rays directly on the fabric damage the textile. ISO 11612 certificate has a different classification for heat resistant as class 1 time ranges 7-20 seconds, class 2 ranges from 20-50 seconds, class 3 ranges from 50-95 seconds, and class for ranges higher than 95 seconds. A good fabric lasts under the infra-red rays for a longer period and it falls into a higher class.
As previously discussed above, this standard is only applicable to textiles and wearing garments for multiple purposes in a working environment that requires protective clothing. ISO 11612 has multiple different tests as well. These further tests below clarify the roles of such certifications and why they are important as all the tests work together to classify the best FR fabric. Certifications such as these are crucial for FR fabrics as they help to determine the best fabrics for you.
This test is another type of test where using flames directly on the fabric helps measure the transfer of heat which helps to classify the fabrics. Flames directly above the fabric help to record the temperature change are through a calorimeter. The heat gain and time recording until a temperature of 24 °C helps to determine the class of the fabric under ISO 11612 standard. Class 1 takes 4 to 10 seconds, class 2 takes 10-20 seconds and class 3 takes 21 seconds and longer.
Molten metal splatters
Melting metals is a common practice in the industrial sector and this specific test determines the durability against molten metal. Molten spill testing happens through a manikin that mimics a real human body, this helps to record the time it takes for the molten metal to reach the skin through the fabric. Different metals melt at different temperatures so only metals like aluminum and iron can help to find out the actual values. The amount of mass that it takes to deteriorate the fabric and reach the skin allows us to determine the class of the fabric under EN ISO 11612. For molten aluminum class 1 takes about 100-200 grams, class two takes 200-350 grand, and lastly 350 grams and more for class 3. As for molten iron class 1 takes 60-120 grams, class 2 takes 120-200 grams and 200 grams or more for class 3.
Importance of standards
All these tests combined to ensure the quality of the fabric. Fabric certification is important as this proves the authenticity of the fabric and gives the buyer a sense of ease in buying the product. EN standards apply to the best protective fabrics. ISO 11611 standard provides a couple of conditions for all fabrics to be legally sold. Fire retardant fabric should be resistant enough to the risk of fire, or otherwise purchasing such protective fabrics is hazardous.
Buying and selling fabrics without these standards can cause a lot of issues in the future. These issues can cause the loss of lives and put the lives of everyone wearing them at risk. Losing because of fabrics without certification can cause the people behind selling and buying such products to have legal action taken against them. ISO 11611 certificate helps protect people from fire and heat-related hazards as it is responsible for saving countless lives over many years. Without standards and certifications, FR fabric would be less safe to wear as there would be no way to distinguish between good and bad FR fabrics.