Textiles Researchers Making a Better Glove for Firefighters

October 1, 2009
By Chris Richter

Who would have thought that one of the biggest complaints firefighters have about their job is the gloves? It’s a problem researchers in the College of Textiles are trying to solve with the help of a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant. News Services reports that they’ll be working to make gloves “with less bulk and greater hand dexterity” without sacrificing fire protection.

“Firefighters frequently say that bulky gloves impede their ability to pick up things and turn knobs – which can be critical in emergency situations,” says Dr. Roger Barker, professor of textile engineering chemistry and science, director of the Textile Protection and Comfort Center (T-PACC), and lead researcher on the study. “There have been improvements in fabrics over the years. What we need now are advances in the functional design of the glove itself, to go along with the advances in glove materials.”

They’ll be testing the material on the PyroHands Fire Test System, which “is part of a sophisticated facility that features computerized, animated analysis of the response of heat sensors to permit the study of garment and body reaction to intense heat and flames.”

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