Year of Publication

2003

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Thesis

College

Engineering

Department

Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. M. Pinar Mengüç

Abstract

Protective helmets used by fire-fighters must be designed to minimize the amount of heat transferred to the users head while providing durability, comfort, and affordable costs. This thesis highlights the evaluation of new helmet technology specifically tailored to high radiant heat environments to advance the state-of-the-art in head protection for this application. The research focused on the assessment of the outer shells of helmets and the properties of the surfaces. The development included the evaluation of radiation heat transfer, in a laboratory environment, to various helmet shell surface constructions. Industry standards were considered, and critiqued. Experiments were designed to isolate critical design variables for measurement and evaluation. Custom, purpose-built laboratory apparatus for testing helmets were designed, explained and utilized in the testing of specimens. Additionally, market demands for firefighting helmets were explored. Helmet durability was specifically addressed with abrasion criteria established and the reflectivity effects of the abraded surfaces evaluated. Resulting from this study, new surface technologies were identified for possible development in future helmet designs. Various surface materials, finishes, and coatings were compared and contrasted to current industry state-of-the-art equipment. The knowledge discovered further advanced modern head protection science in aim of increased safety and performance of fire-fighting personnel.

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