DIF-Jacket: Development of an innovative firefighter jacket 

Funding detail

Total Budget: 298 591,25 €
CEFT funding: 117 732,50 €
Program: 2018 Call for SR&TD projects for forest fire prevention and fighting
Funded by: FCT - Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia
Coordination: João Bernardo Lares Moreira de Campos

Short Description

Thermal Protective Clothing (TPC) Research & Development has been searching solutions to minimize firefighters’ heat load and skin burns. However, until now, the available commercial solutions solve isolated problems (e.g. of radiant heat or water vapour permeability). As a drawback, episodes of heat stroke and severe burns are still often. In this project, the multidisciplinary team (3 partners) will combine the available solutions and techniques to produce a Thermal Protective Clothing with outstanding performance. The main goal of the project is to produce an innovative thermal protective jacket for firefighters. For the first time, a study will integrate the transient nature of the fire scenarios and behavior actions in the R&D process of the innovative TPC. Furthermore, the project aims to transfer technical capacities to stakeholders through a strong component of dissemination events.

In this project, the team intends to produce an innovative firefighter jacket by following a procedure based on the application of numerical models to optimize the design. The aim of the project is to design a jacket for the range of scenarios observed in Portuguese forest fires, with special emphasis on the transient nature of these scenarios. The jacket will be based on a combination of protective clothing components disposed in different layers.  Among the solutions will be reflecting surfaces, Phase Change Materials (PCMs), flame retardant materials and non-conductive materials. The thermal properties of these materials will be gathered from the literature or characterized in the laboratory. Afterwards several designs will be tested numerically and the results validated in the laboratory. After that, a prototype will be built and tested, numerically and in the laboratory.

The project also intends to characterize the firefighter body response to different scenarios considering different protective clothing. Of particular interest will be how the body responds in transient scenarios. This work will generate guidelines for firefighters’ strategies and behavior. The project will have a strong dissemination component to pass useful information to the Portuguese firefighting institutions and firefighter associations, and we expect it will improve strategies and promote the correct use of firefighting equipment.