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US army developing flame resistant combat uniforms
Nov '16
Courtesy: US Army
Courtesy: US Army
The US army researchers are developing a wool-based fabric blend, aiming to improve combat uniforms. The fabric consists of 50 per cent wool, 42 per cent Nomex, 5 per cent Kevlar and 3 per cent P140 antistatic fibre. The combat uniform which will be wholly made from domestic materials will consist of environmental friendly and sustainable fibre.

The combat uniforms will be flame resistant as the fabric used is lightweight. Also, no topical treatments are added to provide the quality of flame resistance, according to Carole Winterhalter, a textile technologist with the Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC).

The developed prototype uniforms were worn by 100 soldiers for trial at the Exercise Combined Resolve VII. Three army researchers had travelled to Germany to carry out the experiment.

The soldiers, who came from a variety of military occupational specialties, wore each of the three uniforms for about seven days in a field environment for a total of 21 days. During testing, each soldier received three prototype uniforms. Each was made from the same wool-based blend. One was “garment treated” with permethrin, an insecticide, another was “fabric treated” with permethrin, and the third was untreated. 

After completing the survey, feedback was taken from the soldiers regarding the uniform’s comfort, durability, laundering and shrinkage, insect resistance and overall performance. Initial results showed that a majority of the soldiers liked the fabric as it was light in weight and breathable. However, the analysis of the survey is yet to be completed, said an official US army website.  

is 100 per cent biodegradable. It is easy to dye and absorbs moisture. The army has spent quite a bit of time and money to reintroduce a manufacturing process in US called Super Wash that allows us to shrink-resist treat the wool. When blended with other fibres, the fabric does not shrink excessively when washed. This new Super Wash process makes wool viable for combat clothing in nearly any application, including jackets, pants, underwear, headwear, gloves and socks,” said Winterhalter.

NSRDEC researchers are planning for a larger field study with more users over a longer time period of time, possibly 30 days. More data on comfort and durability will be needed for the army to move forward with the research, Winterhalter added. (RR)

Fibre2Fashion.com – India

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