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Fibres/​Yarns/​Fabrics

Smart fibre technology activates on demand for extra thermal protection

DuPont has announced its latest offering in advanced fibres with DuPont Nomex On Demand, a new patented smart fibre technology that gives fire fighters up to 20 percent more thermal performance when they encounter emergency conditions.  The term ‘smart-fibre technology’ refers to the ability of the new material, initially for use in thermal liners in firefighter turnout gear, to detect emergency conditions and automatically expand to trap more air for

9th April 2009

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Wilmington, DE

Protective

DuPont has announced its latest offering in advanced fibres with DuPont Nomex On Demand, a new patented smart fibre technology that gives fire fighters up to 20 percent more thermal performance when they encounter emergency conditions. 

The term ‘smart-fibre technology’ refers to the ability of the new material, initially for use in thermal liners in firefighter turnout gear, to detect emergency conditions and automatically expand to trap more air for greater thermal insulation.  In emergency conditions, air temperatures can exceed hundreds of degrees.  Nomex On Demand is specifically engineered to react and expand when temperatures reach 250 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.  Yet in routine conditions, thermal liners made with Nomex On Demand remain thin and flexible, providing excellent thermal protection and good mobility, the company says.  Once activated, Nomex On Demand continues to provide maximum thermal protection, when and where it is needed.

“DuPont Nomex On Demand is the first smart-fibre technology that helps protect lives,” said Thomas G. Powell, Vice President and General Manager, DuPont Advanced Fiber Systems.  “It is a great example of our commitment to market-driven science, matching our many years of experience in high-performance fibres with an understanding of the evolving needs of the fire services industry.  We are committed to protecting fire fighters and other emergency responders with innovative products that will help enable them to perform their jobs as safely as possible.”

The new technology is commercially available in the United States and Canada and will be available globally in late 2009.  While initially available in firefighter gear, DuPont is reviewing additional applications for Nomex On Demand including auto racing, where 95 percent of today’s drivers wear suits made of DuPont Nomex, the company says; wildfire control; oil and gas operations; and military uses.  DuPont estimates the demand for fire protection gear in the United States alone totals almost $300 million.

Nomex On Demand has been tested by DuPont, its customers and independent third parties.  In addition, it meets National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards and has been certified for use by Underwriters Laboratories.

DuPont Nomex was the first flame-resistant fibre used in fire fighter gear.  Prior to its introduction in 1967, fire fighters had limited protection.  Both Nomex and DuPont Kevlar brand fibres are used in the fire services industry, with proven inherent flame protection, durability and comfort.  About 70 percent of the thermal protection in a fire fighter’s turnout coat comes from materials using Nomex and Kevlar, DuPont claims.

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