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The Thermal Protection Laboratory features an 11′ X 18′ fire test chamber that permits full-scale testing of the flammability and thermal protection of garment systems in safe and controlled fire test conditions.

The fire test chamber is equipped with the PyroMan™ system. PyroMan™ is a fully instrumented, life-sized manikin used to evaluate the performance of thermal protective clothing. This is a highly sophisticated instrument that creates a realistic simulation of a flash fire condition and analyzes the response of manikin heat sensors to predict the potential tissue burn damage to the wearer of military, first responder, or industrial work wear.

The PyroMan™ manikin wears male clothing, U.S. size 42 regular. The manikin is made from a flame resistant polyester resin reinforced with fiberglass and is suspended from the ceiling of the burn chamber on an adjustable fixture. There are sockets, uniformly distributed on the surface, for 122 PyroCal heat sensors. Leads from each sensor are taken to the data acquisition unit through a guarded, heat-shielded cable.

After dressing the manikin in the test garment, the test sequence includes interacting with the computer to assure safe operating conditions, lighting pilot flames, exposing garment to a flash fire, data acquisition, and running the fans to vent the chamber.

The criterion for protective performance is the ability of a garment to reduce heat transfer to the manikin. Data acquired by the system is used to calculate the incident heat flux and second or third degree burn injury predictions for each sensor location during and after the fire exposure. A graphical report of burn injury is produced for each test.