Archive for the ‘General Information’ Category

Arc Flash Work Safety: Understanding Hazard Risk Categories

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

The 2009 edition of NFPA 70E requires employers to label any electrical equipment likely to require maintenance or examination while energized with clearly visible warning labels that alert personnel to the hazard before they can be ex

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osed to it. The most common way of doing so is to list a HRC (Hazard Risk Category) of required personal protective gear needed to service the equipment in question. So what does this mean?

Hazard Risk Category is defined within NFPA 70E as a general classification of hazard involved in performing specified tasks. HRC typically ranges from zero to four, with zero denoting minimum-risk activities and four denoting high-risk activities. Each category includes minimum safety equipment required, the minimum number of layers required to meet this requirement, and the minimum arc rating of all required equipment in cal/cm2. The arc rating, in turn, is a value of the energy required to pass through a given material and cause a 50% probability of second to third degree burns. Arc ratings from multiple layers are not cumulative.

Hazard Risk Category 0 (HRC 0)

Minimum Clothing Requirements: In order to qualify as covered under HRC 0, a long-sleeved shirt and long pants made from natural fibers (untreated cotton, silk, wool, rayon, or blends of these fibers), with a

minimum fabric weight of cheap viagra canada 4.5 ounces per square yard, is required. Polyester, poly/cotton blends, and other artificial fibers are not permitted, as they will melt in an arc flash incident, increasing the potential damage.

Additional PPE Equipment: Employees in HRC 0 situations are also required to at minimum be wearing leather safety shoes, safety glasses, and a hard hat.

Minimum Layer Requirements: HRC 0 only requires one layer of protective clothing.

Minimum Arc Rating in cal/cm2: None. HRC 0 has no minimum requirements on arc rating of material.

Hazard Risk Category 1 (HRC 1)

Minimum Clothing Requirements: In order to qualify as covered under HRC 1, an employee must at minimum wear one of the following: denim jeans and a flame-resistant long-sleeved shirt, OR a flame-resistant long-sleeved sirt and pants, OR flame-resistant coveralls.

Additional PPE Equipment: Employees in HRC 1 situations are also

required to at minimum be wearing leather safety shoes, safety glasses, and a hard hat with an arc-rated face shield.

Minimum Layer Requirements: HRC 1 only requires one layer of protective clothing.

Minimum Arc Rating in cal/cm2: 4 cal/cm2

Hazard Risk Category 2 (HRC 2)

Minimum Clothing Requirements: In order to qualify as covered under HRC 2, an employee must at minimum wear one of the following: flame-resistant long-sleeved shirt and pants, OR flame-resistant coveralls.

Additional PPE Equipment: Employees in HRC 2 situations are also required to at minimum be wearing leather safety shoes, safety glasses, and a hard hat with an arc-rated face shield. In certain circumstances, an 8+-cal/cm2 stocking hood or multi-layer switching hood may also be required.

Minimum Layer Requirements: HRC 2 requires one to two layers of protective clothing.

Minimum Arc Rating in cal/cm2: 8 cal/cm2

Hazard Risk Category 3 (HRC 3)

Minimum Clothing Requirements: In order to qualify as covered under HRC 3, an employee must at minimum wear one of the following: a multi-layer flash suit over FR long-sleeved shirt and pants over natural fiber short-sleeved T-shirt and pants, OR a multi-layer flash suit over FR coveralls over natural fiber short-sleeved T-shirt and pants.

Additional PPE Equipment: Employees in HRC 3 situations are also required to at minimum be wearing leather safety shoes, safety glasses, hard hat, hearing protection, and a multi-layer switching hood OR arc-rated goggle and stocking hood.

Minimum Layer Requirements: HRC 3 requires two to three layers of protective clothing.

Minimum Arc Rating in cal/cm2: 25 cal/cm2

Hazard Risk Category 4 (HRC 4)

Minimum Clothing Requirements: In order to qualify as covered under HRC 4, an employee must at minimum wear one of the following: a multi-layer flash suit over FR long-sleeved shirt and pants over natural fiber short-sleeved T-shirt and pants, OR a multi-layer flash suit over FR coveralls over natural fiber short-sleeved T-shirt and pants.

Additional PPE Equipment: Employees in HRC 4 situations are also required to at minimum be wearing leather safety shoes, safety glasses, hard hat, hearing protection, and a multi-layer switching hood OR arc-rated goggle and stocking hood.

Minimum Layer Requirements: HRC 4 requires at least three layers of protective clothing.

Minimum Arc Rating in cal/cm2: 40 cal/cm2

Depending on the specific tasks performed, employees may also be required to wear voltage-rated gloves and use voltage-rated tools appropriate to the equipment being serviced. Whenever possible, energized equipment to be serviced should be put into an electrically safe work condition unless the employer can demonstrate that de-energizing creates more severe hazards (such as when performing work on life-support systems), or is not practical due to limitations of equipment or operation (such as during testing of live equipment). Any service that requires personal protective equipment should only be performed by qualified personnel following a documented plan approved by the manager responsible for the plan.

FR Clothing: Leaving Hazards in the Dust

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Jan 1, 2010 12:00 PM, By Laura Walter

Imperial Sugar now outfits its work force in FR clothing. Learn how and why FR clothing can best protect your own employees.

On Feb. 7, 2008, a combustible dust explosion ripped through the Imperial Sugar Co. refinery in Port Wentworth, Ga., killing 14 employees and injuring dozens. The incident triggered $8 million in proposed OSHA fines, a Senate hearing, a renewed call for an OSHA standard and widespread concerns about combustible dust hazards. It also prompted Imperial Sugar to make some changes in its facilities and procedures — including outfitting all workers in fire-resistant (FR) clothing.

“Post-event, we have required all employees and visitors to the manufacturing areas to wear fire-resistant clothing. It’s a blanket requirement and one that is we believe quite conservative,” says Ron Allen, who joined Imperial Sugar as senior director of environmental, health, safety and quality in March 2009. “It’s probably unusual for a manufacturer of dry product to require fire-resistant clothing plant-wide for all employees.”

Approximately 700 Imperial Sugar workers — about 400 in the rebuilt Port Wentworth facility, as well as 300 at the company’s Grammercy, La., plant — must wear FR garments. All contractors and site visitors must don the protective clothing as well.

Imperial Sugar provides combinations of FR pants, shirts and coveralls. The uniforms are rated for 100 washes, and the garments carefully are monitored so they do not exceed that wash requirement. Electricians and welders wear a higher performing fabric to protect them from arc flash.

Scott Margolin, international technical director at Westex Inc., acknowledges that in the event of a combustible dust incident, some fatalities may be unavoidable because of explosions, entrapment or sustained fire. But “vastly more people” often are involved in the flash fire portion of the event, he says.

“If it doesn’t ignite your clothes, you’re probably going to live. And if it does, you’re probably not,” Margolin says. “FR clothing can make a huge contribution to worker safety in that area.”

FR BASICS

FR clothing is designed to protect workers from arc flash and flash fire, two hazards that can cause serious injury or death. In an arc flash, the amount of energy released is “quite significant,” with temperatures reaching between 10 and 20,000 degrees Fahrenheit, explains Dan Bowen, technical marketing specialist for Dupont Personal Protection.

“Even though the duration of an arc flash is usually fairly short, on the order of less than 1 second, the amount of intense heat will cause anything combustible to burst into flames almost immediately,” Bowen says. “There’s been a tremendous amount of people injured and killed by arc flash events that suffer badly because the clothing they were wearing caught on fire.”

Bowen explains that workers’ clothing plays a big role in the extent of their injuries in the event of an arc flash, especially if they are wearing a synthetic blend such as polypropylene or nylon blends.

“The challenge with those fabrics is not only will they ignite, but they’ll burn vigorously because they’re plastic,” Bowen says. “They are highly flammable. They melt, they burn, they drip. They make a bad matter much worse.”

When FR clothing is exposed to a heat source and that heat source is then removed, the garment will not continue to burn, Bowen explains. “That’s not to say these things are fire proof. It’s not like wearing cement or steel — they will undergo a physical change — but as soon as the heat source is gone, that fabric won’t burn. It’s designed to provide protection for the worker from that burn injury.”

Margolin adds that if a worker’s street clothes ignite, the fire and subsequent burn injuries will spread to areas of the body where the arc itself never touched.

“As silly as this sounds, you’re literally better off naked because the body burn injury you would suffer is going to be limited to the areas of the body where the arc hits. [If] your garments ignite, that fire is going to spread very rapidly,” he says. “As soon as the shirt ignites, you’re shifting from survivable or no injury with FR clothing, to potentially or probably fatal injury [without FR clothing] within seconds.”

FR clothing also provides protection through insulation, shielding the body from the heat of the event.

“The analogy that I like to make is you wouldn’t wear a windbreaker out into a blizzard, would you?” Margolin says. “If you know it’s 55 degrees out, you can put a windbreaker on and you’re going to okay. If it’s 55 degrees out, you’re not going to wear that same lightweight jacket — you’re dressing appropriately to that hazard, in this case cold.”

MISCONCEPTIONS

As with any PPE, workers and safety professionals must have a full understanding of the equipment to properly and safely use it. Misconceptions about FR clothing can be dangerous. For example, Margolin cites the erroneous belief that cotton is an upgrade from synthetic blend materials. While cotton doesn’t melt, wearing cotton garments in the event of arc flash or a flash fire could be deadly.

“Cotton ignites just as readily

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as poly cotton, and it burns hotter, meaning it will do more damage to your skin more quickly,” Margolin says. “It’s harder to extinguish and it’s typically heavier, which means more fuel for a longer fire. Cotton is not an upgrade. It does ignite, and it’s equally hazardous.”

Another troubling misconception is that workers need an FR shirt or jacket but not FR pants. Not wearing full protection, Margolin warns, is a dangerous move.

“You wouldn’t do that any more than you would wear half a hard hat or one lens of a safety glass, or just the right glove for shock protection but not the left one,” he says. “A shirt-only program is not a program at all. You’re not compliant, [and] you’re not going to save yourself the fatalities or medical costs.”

Finally, Margolin stresses that not all FR is the same.

“Just because something has an arc rating doesn’t mean it’s a long-term, viable product, so we urge people to look for market-proven products,” he says. “There is no excuse in our business today to wear a garment where you have to count the launderings. There are plenty of fabrics out there that are flame resistant for the life of the garment. I would urge people to look for market-proven products.”

Bowen adds that when it comes to FR clothing and protection from flash fire, some safety professionals are content with doing only the bare minimum to remain compliant.

“With flash fire, everyone looks at the lowest possible denominator, but every place else they’re willing to step up and look at the hazard,” Bowen says. “Nobody skimps on respirators. Employers will purchase and mandate that their employees use the correct level of respiratory protection, but they don’t do the same thing with flash fire.”

COMFORT

Another commonly misunderstand aspect of FR clothing is how comfortable it can be.

“There’s a misconception that flame-resistant clothing is heavier, stiffer, scratchier or uglier than street clothing. That’s one of the reasons people don’t get it,” Margolin says. “We have been engineering for years trying to get lighter and lighter and softer and softer and more and more street looking. And with at least a few brands, we have gotten there.”

Lanny Floyd, principal consultant for electrical safety and technology at Dupont, agrees that FR garments today are being developed for higher performance and lower weight. “Over the last 10 years, there have been significant advances in the comfort and usability” of FR fabrics, he explains. Additionally, the face shields and hoods used in arc flash protection also have been improved.

To find the FR fabric and clothing that will be most comfortable for workers, Bowen suggests that safety professionals conduct a wear trial. Identify several different fabric types and fabric manufacturers and obtain sample garments. Let workers wear these garments in real-life work situations so they can determine what feels best.

“Look at the job that needs to be performed, look at the features you want on the garment, identify a few options, put it on people and let them wear it for a couple of months,” Bowen says.

LAST LINE OF DEFENSE

Floyd also stresses that workers must know how to properly wear and use FR clothing. That means securing all fasteners, ensuring all body parts are protected, never rolling up sleeves and repairing any damage immediately and with the appropriate materials, such as FR thread.

Users also must follow the garment manufacturer’s instruction on care and cleaning. Don’t allow contaminated materials, solvent or grease that could ignite and degrade the performance of the protective clothing come into contact with the garments.

Finally, Floyd explains that one of the big areas of opportunities in the FR world is education on when and how to use these garments properly.

“That’s one of the big gaps I think we have today,” Floyd considers. “We have great products and great standards to improve safety for workers, but making sure people understand buy generic viagra online how to use it properly is always a challenge. Ongoing education is very important.”

Being properly educated often means staying up-to-date on timely topics, such as combustible dust.

“Combustible dust is hot-button issue with OSHA and FR,” says Margolin,

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who attended the December 2009 OSHA stakeholder meetings on the development of a combustible dust standard . “The first line of defense of any of these things is to engineer the hazard out or down,” he explains.

“Flame-resistant clothing, while it is admittedly the last line of defense after behavioral and engineering safety have been addressed, cannot and must not be overlooked. Just because a car has crumple zones and impact-absorbing bumpers and air bags does not mean you can forget to put on your seat belt,” Margolin says. “Same kind of logic.”

A COMBUSTIBLE DUST STANDARD

On Oct. 21, 2009, OSHA published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking as an initial step in developing a standard to address the hazards of combustible dust. Ron Allen represented Imperial Sugar at OSHA’s Dec. 14, 2009, stakeholder meetings on this issue.

“We are strong advocates for an OSHA standard,” he says. “I came away [from the stakeholder meeting] with an appreciation that there are many different opinions that will influence the final standard.”

According to Allen, OSHA representatives “seemed to sincerely have an open mind and are listening to the various stakeholders as they attempt to put together this new standard.” He adds that he’d like to see a combustible dust standard with specification language as opposed to performance language.

“Performance standards are very attractive on the surface, but could be much more difficult to administer than a specification standard,” he points out. “We think that specification language actually serves as an education. It helps employers, particularly small employers, who may not have a great deal of technical resource to understand what they must do to protect their employees from combustible dust fires and explosions.”

A Cost-Effective Solution

“OSHA has clearly embarked on a path that’s going to result in a rule on combustible dust,” says Margolin, who also attended the combustible dust stakeholder meetings. “The big questions to me seem to be about scope, and what language [of existing NFPA standards], if any, will make it in.”

According to Margolin, the meetings focused on existing NFPA consensus standards, the potential scope of a standard, economic impact and hazard mitigation. FR clothing also entered the discussion, particularly in terms of economic impact. Margolin is quick to point out just how cost-efficient FR clothing can be.

“Body burn is the second most expensive hospitalization in the U.S.,” he says. “Putting everybody who remotely needs FR clothing in it for the rest of their careers costs vastly less than the first year of medical [expenses] alone for the burn injuries that are already happening, much less the ongoing medical costs, insurance, workers compensation, counseling, fines and lawsuits.”

Overall, Margolin was encouraged by what he calls an obvious intent to develop and implement a standard for combustible dust.

“It’s not a matter of if  but when they will put out a rule on combustible dust,” he says.

TenCate US Army Uniform : Defender M

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

TenCate Protective Fabrics : TenCate Defender™ M

 Thanks to a  combination of fibres and an innovative dyeing method, the colours navy blue and black are  also available. This material can be used in the protective clothing of special police units, such as the riot police and arrest squads. In addition to their inherently heat- and flame-resistant characteristics, the fabrics from the TenCate Defender™ M collection provide a great deal of comfort. The material has meantime amply proved itself within the US

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Antistatic characteristics
The product DM 9180 is the latest addition to the TenCate Defender™ M collection. This is a lightweight fabric with antistatic characteristics, weighing 180 g/m². The material is exceptionally suitable for use in the protective clothing of

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air-force pilots. 

Multilayer laminate
TenCate Defender™ M is also available in two- and three-layer PTFE laminate and weighs 220 or 280 g/m². The TenCate Defender™ M fabrics with Hydro-Control™ and Hydro-Control™ Triple provide protection against moisture. These fabrics are not only inherently flame-resistant and antistatic, but also both waterproof and water vapour permeable.

Robert Brinks, business development manager at TenCate Protective Fabrics, explains: “The products from the TenCate Defender™ M collection are extremely strong and durable. These inherently flame-resistant fabrics provide the greatest possible protection against a flashover. The fabric is cooling, breathable and extremely comfortable, thanks to the high percentage of Lenzing® FR fibres it contains. A number of armies and police forces in Europe are currently showing interest in these fabrics and various wearer trials have already been started”.

The products in the TenCate Defender™ M collection are based on patented technology from TenCate and exclusive fibre blends.
TenCate Protective Fabrics EMEA
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Personal Protective Clothing – Ensuring Worker Safety

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

Personal Protective Clothing – Ensuring Worker Safety


Personal protective clothing offers a practical solution to eliminating, or at least minimising, the risk of accidents, injuries or infection in the workplace. More specifically, it provides an effective safeguard against hazards such as extreme temperatures, fire, potentially dangerous objects and harmful substances. The main categories of protective clothing include chemical and hazardous material (hazmat) clothing, clean room clothing, combat uniforms, cut resistant workwear, flame resistant workwear, high visibility apparel, medical protective clothing and multi-functional protective wear. Fibre types employed include aramids, treated cotton, modacrylic, polyamide, polybenzimidazole (PBI), polypropylene, ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) and Vectran. Leading brands of fibres and fabrics used in protective clothing include Cordura Baselayer fabric, Pyrovatex ,Gore Chempak Selectively Permeable Fabric, Tecasafe plus ,Defender M, Kermel, Kevlar, Nomex 111A, Proban, Protera, Sungrazer, Tychem and Tyvek.

Growing concerns about worker safety on the one hand and increasing instances of terror attacks and epidemics on the other have raised awareness about the need for personal protection. This awareness, coupled with rising costs associated with workplace injuries, has resulted in a growing emphasis on compliance with

health and safet

y regulations and performance standards for protective apparel and accessories.


Technological advances in the personal protective equipment (PPE) industry have led to the development of products which not only meet these stringent performance standards but also offer advances in comfort and style. Such advances have helped to increase the proportion of end users who comply with health and safety regulations.

Looking ahead, one of the main challenges is that of cheap but inferior imports from China – many of which do not comply with rigid specifications in the West. These are proving to be a menace for suppliers of high performance PPE and are limiting market revenues for the industry as a whole. Nonetheless, rising demand for high performance products which are user-friendly will help to drive growth in the market, and those companies which are able to satisfy the need for increasingly sophisticated PPE should thrive as a result. PPE is a necessity rather than an option in many services and industries, notably those in which worker safety is at risk. The market should therefore enjoy a viable future as legislation becomes more stringent in developed countries, and as industrialisation progresses and legislation is introduced in developing countries.


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UNIFORM BUILDING BY-LAWS 1984 (ACT 133)

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

UNIFORM BUILDING BY-LAWS 1984 (ACT 133)

Responsibilities of Building Owner

According to By-Law 237 (3), provisions shall be

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made for the general evacuation of the premises by action of a master control. This has to be organized and carried out by the building owner, his building management staff and security personnel or building management agents engaged by him to be fully responsible for the undertaking of management, maintenance and security of the building.

From time to time, the owner should organize and carry out fire drills for the building occupants under the supervision of the fire and rescue department.
The owner should also arrange for building occupants, talks or lectures on Fire Safety, discipline and general precautionary measures.
Occupants should be trained in basic fire fighting like operating fire extinguishers, manual fire alarm activation, celebrex without prescription etc.

FACTORIES & MACHINERY ACT 1967 (Act 139)

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

 

 

Factories and Machinery (Safety, Health & Welfare) Regulations 1970

 

Regulation 21 Safety provisions in case of fire

(1)    Every factory building shall be provided with not less than two exits from every floor.

(2)    Where persons are employed in any floor situated below or above the ground floor, means of escape in case of fire shall be provided and maintained. Such means of escape shall:-
(1) communicate directly to outside air;
(2) be sufficient in the opinion of an Inspector for all persons employed: and
(3) if provided with any door, such door shall be fitted so as to open outwards from the room, passage, or staircase from which it is a means of escape  and    shall n

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ot be kept locked or fastened and shall be free from obstruction while persons are present in the room, passage or staircase. 
(4) Every window and door affording means of escape in case of fire or any emergency exit, other than the means of exit in ordinary use, shall be distinctively and conspicuously marked by a notice printed in red letters of an adequate size indicating the purpose for which it is to be used.
(5) The occupier of every factory shall ensure that all persons employed are familiar with the means of escape in case of fire, the use of such means and the routine to be followed in case of fire.
(6)The contents of viagra for sale any room in which persons are employed shall be so arranged or disposed that there is free gangway to enable all persons employed in the room to have access to a means of escape in case of fire.

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OSHA 1994 (ACT 514)

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

 

OSHA 1994 (ACT 514)

Section 15. General duties of employers and self-employed persons to their employees.

It shall be the duty of every employer and self-employed person to ensure, so far as is practicable, the safety, health and welfare at work of all his employees. Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), the matters to which the duty extends include in particular:-

(a) the provision and maintenance of plants and systems of work that are, so far as is practicable, safe and
     Without risks to health;
(b) the making of arrangements for ensuring, so far as is practicable, safety and absence of risks to health in
     Connection with the use or operation, handling, storage and transport of plant and substances;
(c)  the provision of such information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, so far
      As is practicable, the safety and health at work of his employees;

(d) so far as is practicable, as regards any place of work under the control of the employer or self-employed
     Person, the maintenance of it in a condition that is safe and without risks to health and the provision and
     Maintenance of the means of access to and egress from it that are safe and without such risks;
(e) the provision and maintenance of a working environment for his employees that is, so

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far is practicable, 
    Safe, without risks to health, and adequate as regards facilities for their welfare at work.

Section 17. General duties of employers and self-employed persons to persons other than their  Employees.
                   

(1) It shall be the duty of every employer and every self-employed person to conduct his undertaking in such 
   A manner as to ensure, so far as is practicable, that he and other persons, not being his employees, who 
   May be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their safety and health.
(2) It shall be the duty of every employer and every self-employed person, in the prescribed circumstances
     And viagra canada in the prescribed manner, to give to persons, not being his employee, who may be affected by the
     Manner in which he conducts his undertaking as such aspects of the manner in which he conducts his 
     Undertaking as might affect their safety and health.

Part IV
Section 19. Penalty for offence under Section 15 or 17

A person who contravenes the provision of section 15 or 17 shall be guilty of an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding fifty thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to both.

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Nomex by DuPont

Sunday, January 24th, 2010

What is Nomex?

 

Nomex is the friendly brand name for a heat- and flame-resistant textile made by the DuPont™ chemical company. Technically, it’s called a synthetic aromatic polyamide polymer—which sounds complex but starts to make more sense if you consider it one word at a time:

  • Synthetic textiles are made in a chemical laboratory (unlike natural textiles such as cotton, which grows on plants, and wool, which comes from animals).
  • Aromatic means its molecules have a strong, ring-like structure not unlike that of benzene.
  • Polyamide means the ring-like aromatic molecules connect together to form long chains. These run inside (and parallel to) the fibers of Nomex a bit like the steel bars in reinforced concrete.
  • Polymer means that Nomex is made from many identical molecules bonded together (each one of which is called a monomer). Plastics are the most familiar polymers in our world. As we’ve seen, the monomers in Nomex are based on a modified, benzene-like ring syructure.

In short, what we have in Nomex is a man-made textile whose ring-like monomers are bonded together into tough, long chains to make immensely strong fibers. Break Nomex up and sort it into its atoms and you’d have four neat piles of carbon hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen.

Aromatic polyamides such as Nomex are often called aramids for short. Kevlar® (another DuPont textile) is also an aramid, but with a slightly different chemical structure. If you’re interested, the full chemical name of Nomex is poly (m-phenylenediamine isophthalamide), while Kevlar is poly (p-phenylenediamine terephthalamide); Nomex is a meta-aramid polymer while Kevlar is a para-aramid polymer.

Aramids are made in a two-stage process. First, the basic polymer is made by reacting together organic (carbon-based) substances to form a liquid. In the second stage, the liquid is spun out to make solid fibers, which can then be woven into textiles or converted into sheet form.

Nomex generally comes in three kinds. It’s either used by itself (as 100 percent Nomex), blended with up to 60 percent Kevlar, or blended with Kevlar and some anti-static fibers. In this last form, it’s known as Nomex III.

What’s so good about Nomex?

Two superb properties of Nomex make it a perfect protective material for race-car drivers. Although Nomex burns when you hold a flame up to it, it stops burning as soon as the heat source is removed. In other words, it is inherently flame resistant. Just as important, the thick woven structure of synthetic fibers is a very poor conductor of heat. It takes time for heat to travel through Nomex; hopefully by that time, you’re away from the flames and out of danger.

The tough, woven structure of Nomex is extremely strong, has high heat resistance, is flame retardant (it doesn’t melt or drip) and doesn’t react with water.

 

What is Nomex used for?

Nomex is best known as a barrier to fire and heat. Apart from race-car drivers, it’s worn by astronauts, fire-fighters, and military personnel. It’s also widely used in more mundane ways, such as in my household oven gloves. In sheet form, heatproof Nomex finds many uses in automobiles, including high-temperature hoses and insulation for spark plugs.

But Nomex isn’t just useful for protective clothing. The molecular structure that stops heat passing through stops electricity flowing through it as well. That means Nomex is an extremely poor conductor—almost a perfect insulator, in fact. Nomex, made into the form of a paper sheet or board, is a superb insulating material for all kinds of electrical equipment, from motors and generators to transformers and other electrical equipment.

Like Kevlar, Nomex is both very strong and very light, so it’s often used in aerospace applications. Nomex sheet is widely used to make the honeycomb reinforcement inside helicopter blades and airplane tail fins.