Specialty Fabrics Review July 2020 - 28

REVIEW: What makes the design process for
PPE different from other textile products?

The Textile Protection and Comfort Center at North Carolina State University,
Wilson College of Textiles, is a leader in laboratory-based instrumented
systems, with facilities devoted to analysis of heat and flame protection,
chemical resistance and comfort performance. Here, a hospital gown and
scrubs are tested on a sweating manikin. Photo: Kevin Ross.

MATHEWS: There are a few broad areas I usually point
to in discussing the difference between PPE and other
wearable textile products. The differences are often not
heavily considered or prioritized during design and
development of other types of clothing.
*	Human safety is involved. In general, PPE design and
development is often centered on technical requirements
and standards, which are primarily in existence to ensure
that the end product meets a certain level of protection
required for human safety during a specific use. Since
human safety and often human life are involved, the
failure of a garment or textile to perform as intended
can have severe consequences.
*	 PPE is designed for continued use in the most extreme
environments. This requires not only meeting the
protective requirements for the end user, but it also places
high importance on durability performance of a system
within that environment and continued performance over
time. Therefore, design and development of PPE requires
that you not only consider the performance/protection of
the garment when it is new, but you also have to consider
the performance/protection after X number of hours of
usage or X number of launderings.
*	PPE is a part of complex architectures. For the
most part, when individual protective clothing and
equipment are worn, the end user wears or carries
additional clothing or equipment. Military personnel
normally have ballistic vests, helmets, load-bearing
vests, hydration packs, as well as weapons and ammo;
firefighters usually wear a station uniform under a
turnout suit, have bulky gloves and boots, and have
to wear SCBAs (self-contained breathing apparatus);
police officers have a duty belt, which can include
a number of items needed for their job; oil and gas
workers wear hard hats, eye protection and hearing
protection. The clothing is one subsystem within the
overall system architecture for a particular end user,
and all of the interactions between these subsystems
need to be considered during design and development.
*	The end user is not always the purchaser. When the
end user is not the purchaser, which is often the case, it
can create situations where stakeholder considerations,
such as schedule, cost and other non-user-based
requirements, can be prioritized over end-user needs
and preferences.

28 REVIEW JULY 2020

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Specialty Fabrics Review July 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Specialty Fabrics Review July 2020

Specialty Fabrics Review July 2020 - Cover1
Specialty Fabrics Review July 2020 - Cover2
Specialty Fabrics Review July 2020 - 1
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Specialty Fabrics Review July 2020 - Cover3
Specialty Fabrics Review July 2020 - Cover4
Specialty Fabrics Review July 2020 - IFAI Expo Brochure 1
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