Numerical investigation of thermal regulation inside firefighter protective clothing

ALPTEKİN E., EZAN M. A., Gül B. M., Kurt H., EZAN A. C.

Tekstil ve Muhendis, vol.24, no.106, pp.94-100, 2017 (Scopus) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 24 Issue: 106
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Doi Number: 10.7216/1300759920172410606
  • Journal Name: Tekstil ve Muhendis
  • Journal Indexes: Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.94-100
  • Keywords: Numerical model, Phase change materials, Textile, Thermal burn, Thermal protection
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: Yes


Phase change materials (PCMs) are widely used in heating and cooling applications to reduce the mismatch between the energy production and the demand. PCMs can also be incorporated into the thermal systems to maintain a constant temperature and conduce to increase the thermal comfort. Unlike any human-made thermal system, the thermal comfort of the human body is more crucial since a possible damage may not be recovered. In this study, PCM layers are incorporated into the textile fabric to increase the thermal comfort of a firefighter and protect the skin layers from the thermal burn due to overheating. A transient one-dimensional numerical model is developed in the ANSYS-FLUENT software. The effect of blood perfusion inside skin layers is simulated as an energy source term and defined into the software using user-defined-function (UDF). The validatity of the source term implentation into ANSYS-FLUENT is proven by repoducing a reduced model fom the literature. The predicted time-wise variations of the temperature of the body layers are compared with the ones which are taken from the literature. After the validation procedure, the usage of PCM inside a firefighter protective clothing is numerically investigated by varying the thermal boundary conditions acting on the coating. Results depict that, for the longest fire exposure duration the 1st-degree burn is effective for a depth of 5.29 mm and the 3rd-degree burn is observed for a depth of 2.57 mm. Implementing the PCM inside the clothing inhibits the temperature rise in skin layers and improves the heat storage capacity of the fabric. In the current design and working conditions, firefighter protective clothing with 1 mm of PCM layer prevents the skin burn, even for the longest fire exposure scenario.