Arc-Man®: The Ultimate Arc Flash Test | DuPont™ Nomex® TA Newsletter Volume 4

DuPont Helps Protect Against Electric Arc Dangers with Arc-Man® Testing and Fabric Made of Nomex® MHP Fabric

While Nomex® fiber is widely recognized as a leader in FR protection, the DuPont™ Arc-Man® testing facility in Switzerland is advancing the science of protection for workers exposed and at risk to arc flash. Located near the DuPont European Technical Center, this remarkable testing facility has been operating for over 20 years and is only one of four open-arc technical laboratories in the world that follows current international testing guidelines.

Arc-Man® uses test equipment developed by DuPont to evaluate the thermal effect of an electric arc on fabrics and garments by measuring the arc thermal performance value (ATPV) and energy break-open threshold (EBT) in simulated open electric arc incidents according to IEC/EN 61482-1-1. Arc-Man® can also perform the box test according to IEC/EN 61482-1-2.Arc-Man® can also perform the box test according to IEC/EN 61482-1-2.

Arc-Man® can also perform the box test according to IEC/EN 61482-1-2.

What Is an Electric Arc?

An electric arc is a potentially deadly risk that workers in utility, chemical, refinery and other hazardous industrial jobs face every day. Generating very bright light and an intensive heat up to 30,000°C, an electric arc is a continuous electric discharge of high current between conductors.

Without proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for protection against the thermal effect of an electric arc, workers are at risk of suffering severe burn injuries or even death. An electric arc also generates other potentially severe hazards, such as a high-pressure wave, noise and toxic fumes.

How Does Arc-Man® Work?

Arc-Man® is a collection of rotating machines, alternators and generators that create a very high level of current that enables the facility to be totally disconnected from the electrical grid. A 20-ton rotor allows for the accumulation of kinetic energy that is transformed into electrical energy.

Arc-Man® collectionThe sample—either a protective fabric on a panel or a protective garment on a mannequin torso—is placed in the center of the cage and exposed to energy levels of up to 70 cal/cm2, simulating what could be created during an actual electric arc flash. It is important to note that continuous exposure to 1.2 cal/cm2 generated by an open arc is enough to cause a second-degree burn on human skin.

This open arc test determines the limit of the incident energy to which a fabric or garment provides protection against the thermal effects of an electric arc.

Arc-Man® Provides Vital Data

Arc-Man® helps PPE manufacturers assess and compare the protection that various garments provide against the thermal effects of an electric arc. It also shows the impact that different materials, such as sewing threads, logos and reflective tape, can have during an arc flash. The testing unit provides vital data on several key parameters that help manufacturers to optimize their fabrics and garments to protect against the heat of an electric arc, helping to provide enhanced protection for industrial workers.

With its real-world simulation demonstrations, which can be viewed from a specially equipped conference room on site during testing or watched later online, Arc-Man® also helps raise awareness on the devastating effects that an electric arc can have on workers if they are not properly protected.

Nomex® MHP for Arc Flash Clothing

In 2013, DuPont launched the next generation in multi-hazard protection: Nomex® MHP for arc flash clothing. Extending the trusted Nomex® brand to heat and flame protection, fabric made of Nomex® MHP also helps protect against arc flash and small molten metal splashes.

Arc Rating/Weight Ratio

Nomex® MHP meets the Arc Flash Protection standard NFPA 70E. Nomex® MHP has an excellent arc rating/weight ratio: 8.4 cal/cm2 and ATPV rating (category 2 as per NFPA 70E) in a 7 oz. fabric. Nomex® MHP also consistently meets the arc flash rating across all the colors in the offering.

It also meets or exceeds international standards for heat and flame protection, including NFPA 2112 and EN/ISO 11612, and meets the EN/ISO 11611 standard for small molten metal protection.

This innovative fabric from DuPont helps enable garment manufacturers to develop arc flash clothing for utility workers that offers multi-hazard protection, proven comfort and market-leading durability.

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