Below is a message that was sent from US Fleet Forces Commander Adm. Bill Gortney to commanding officers and command master chiefs regarding the flame resistant qualities of our Navy Working Uniform (Type 1):
RAAUZYUW RUCBCLF0008 3470737-UUUU–RHMCSUU.
R 120737Z DEC 12
FM COMUSFLTFORCOM NORFOLK VA
TO COMPACFLT PEARL HARBOR HI
INFO CNO WASHINGTON DC
COMUSFLTFORCOM NORFOLK VA
CHINFO WASHINGTON DC
UNCLAS PERSONAL FOR COMMANDERS, COMMANDING OFFICERS, OFFICERS IN CHARGE AND COMMAND MASTER CHIEFS SECINFO/-/-// MSGID/GENADMIN,USMTF,2012/COMUSFLTFORCOM NORFOLK VA// SUBJ/NAVY WORKING UNIFORM// REF/A/MSGID:MEMO/VCNO/10MAY1996// GENTEXT/REMARKS/1. IN 1996, NAVY LEADERSHIP REMOVED FLAME RESISTANT REQUIREMENTS FROM NAVY WORKING UNIFORMS (NWU).
CONSISTENT WITH THIS DECISION, COMMANDS HAVE SINCE THAT TIME BEEN REQUIRED TO PURCHASE FLAME RESISTANT ORGANIZATIONAL CLOTHING FOR SAILOR USE. THERE HAS BEEN NO CHANGE IN THIS REQUIREMENT. THEREFORE, THE NWU TYPE I WAS APPROPRIATELY DESIGNED WITHOUT FLAME RESISTANT QUALITIES.
2. ON 15 OCTOBER 2012, AN IMPROMPTU TEST CONDUCTED BY THE NAVY CLOTHING TEXTILE RESEARCH FACILITY IN NATICK, MA REINFORCED THE FACT THAT THE NWU TYPE I IS NOT FLAME RESISTANT AND FURTHER FOUND THAT WHEN SUBJECTED TO FLAME IT WILL BURN ROBUSTLY UNTIL COMPLETELY CONSUMED.
3. AS THE CNO’S EXECUTIVE AGENT FOR DAMAGE CONTROL MODERNIZATION AND IMPROVEMENT, I NEED YOU TO ENSURE THE
A. SAILORS ARE AWARE THAT TYPE I NWU’S LACK THIS FLAME RESISTANT QUALITY.
B. SAILORS HAVE BEEN PROPERLY ISSUED FLAME RESISTANT ORGANIZATIONAL CLOTHING IN KEEPING WITH DUTIES ASSIGNED:
E.G., ENGINE ROOM PERSONNEL, PERSONNEL INVOLVED IN FLIGHT RELATED DUTIES, DAMAGE CONTROL PERSONNEL, FIRE FIGHTERS, WELDING, COMBAT MISSIONS SUBJECT TO IMPROVISED EXPLOSIVE DEVISES (IED) ATTACKS, ETC.).
4. INFORMED BY THIS IMPROMPTU TEST AND IN COORDINATION WITH THE UNIFORM BOARD, ADM HANEY AND I WILL CONTINUE TO REVIEW THE REQUIREMENTS FOR — AND FLAME RESISTANT QUALITIES OF — WORKING UNIFORMS, INCLUDING THE TYPE I NWUS. WE WILL EXPLORE LONG-TERM SOLUTIONS THAT AFFORD OUR SAILORS THE RIGHT PROTECTIVE CLOTHING, ALIGNED WITH THE TASKS THEY ARE REQUIRED TO PERFORM IN VARIOUS OPERATING ENVIRONMENTS.
5. ADM BILL GORTNEY SENDS.//
ASTM D6413 Standard Test Method for Flame Resistance of Textiles (Vertical Test)
Navy Working Uniform, Flame Resistant Army Combat Uniform and United States Marine Corps Flame Resistant Organizational Gear Combat Uniform Materials
15 OCT 2012
Navy Clothing and Textile Research Facility
Testing was conducted in accordance with ASTM D6413 Standard Test Method for Flame Resistance of Textiles (Vertical Test). This test assesses the self-extinguishing and melt/drip characteristics of textile materials. Using this method, 3” wide by 12” long specimens are subjected to a flame for 12 seconds. The after-flame time, after-glow time and char length are measured and any melting/dripping is recorded. Testing was performed on samples conditioned for a minimum of 24hrs at 70°F and 65%RH.
United States Testing Co., Inc.
Vertical Flammability Tester
The purpose of this flame resistance (FR) testing was to conduct side-by-side testing of textiles used in the Navy Working Uniform (non-FR), the FR Army Combat Uniform (FR ACU), and the USMC FR Organizational Gear (FROG) Combat Uniform. The vertical flame specimens will be mounted on poster boards for a visual display of non-FR and FR textiles exposed to flame.
Typical requirements for a FR material used in a working/combat uniforms are a 2 second or less after-flame time, a 25 second or less after-glow time, a char length of less than 4.5 inches, and no melting or dripping. The FR ACU and USMC FROG materials tested are FR, therefore, they are self extinguishing and pass the FR requirements. Both the FR ACU and USMC FROG materials are comprised of 65% FR rayon, 25% para-aramid, and 10% nylon.
The NWU is not a FR uniform; its material is comprised of a 50% nylon/50% cotton (NYCO) blend and when subjected to a flame it will burn robustly until completely consumed. The after-flame time of the NWU samples tested was typically greater than 60 seconds with no after-glow time since there was no material left after exposure. The nylon component of the NWU material is a thermoplastic fiber that melts and drips as it burns. If this sticky molten material came in contact with skin it would contribute to increased burn injury due to conductive energy transfer. The use of the NYCO material in an environment where there is potential for a flame or thermal threat is not recommended.
TEST ORGANIZATION AND SUPPORT:
Physical Properties testing was conducted at the Navy Clothing and Textile Research Facility, Natick, MA
Update: Video added to this blog Dec. 27, 2012
Video Caption: The purpose of this Oct. 15, 2012 flame resistance (FR) test was to conduct side-by-side testing of textiles used in the USMC FR Organizational Gear (FROG) Combat Uniform and the Navy Working Uniform (non-FR). The vertical flame specimens was mounted on poster boards for a visual display of non-FR and FR textiles exposed to flame. Testing was conducted in accordance with ASTM D6413 Standard Test Method for Flame Resistance of Textiles (Vertical Test). This test assesses the self-extinguishing and melt/drip characteristics of textile materials. Using this method, 3″ wide by 12″ long specimens are subjected to a flame for 12 seconds. The after-flame time, after-glow time and char length are measured and any melting/dripping is recorded. Testing was performed on samples conditioned for a minimum of 24hrs at 70°F and 65%RH.