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N.C. State's Pyroman Takes The Heat To Protect Others

Posted June 15, 2000

— A researcher atN.C. State's College of Textilesis set on fire on a regular basis in an effort to protect people. Mr. Pyroman tests garments for fire resistance and thermal insulation.

"He's made of a heat-resistant composite material. He has 122 thermal sensors distributed all over his body," says Dr. Roger Barker. "It helps us to engineer better fibers and fabrics and better garments to literally save people's lives."

The intense fire, Pyroman faces, is similar to the wildfires Colorado firefighters are facing. With just the turn of a few knobs, Pyroman is exposed to eight industrial torches for four seconds.

Pyroman has the most advanced sweating mannequin in the world. He has 187 sweat glands and tests clothes for their breathability.

"What we've been able to do is to create materials which are thermally protective for them, and yet are lightweight and more breathable," Barker says.

As for the future, Professor Barker talks about the evolution of SMART textiles, fabrics that can react to an outside heat or body heat and basically eliminate it.


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