How It’s Tested: Episode 5 – ASTM F1506, Part 2: The “Gut Check” for AR Clothing

Our How it's Tested series explores safety standards and test methods for AR / FR garments and PPE. With Scott Margolin, Vice President of Technical as our guide, we examine many of the major tests to understand what they measure, how they measure it, and what that means to someone like you who is specifying or wearing the garment. Whether you are a seasoned professional or just starting out, explore all episodes in this series to make sure you are up to date on the latest information.

If you work alongside an arc flash hazard each day, you’ve got guts. Your electric arc protection should too! That’s where ASTM F1506 comes in: it identifies arc-rated flame resistant (AR / FR) fabrics with the right performance properties to be worn for arc flash protection. In our last post we examined the “Big Two” test methods used to establish the protective properties of the fabric – flame resistance and arc rating. But that’s just part of the equation. What about the fabric’s physical characteristics, which tests does ASTM F1506 use to evaluate fabrics in terms of mechanical durability?

Scott Margolin, Vice President of Technical, guides us through the five mechanical tests used to ensure a fabric has the strength it needs to reliably deliver the arc flash protection you trust with your life:

The Five “Gut Check” Tests for Mechanical Durability in ASTM F1506

ASTM F1506 uses a series of mechanical tests to assess a fabric’s fortitude:

  • American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC) 61 Method 2A, known as the “Colorfastness & Laundering Test” – an accelerated way to make sure your garment’s color when new remains consistent through laundering. This matters for image reasons – particularly if your company requires a uniform look across the workforce.
  • ASTM D3786, “The Burst Test” – in this test, a mechanical ball is pushed through a fabric until the fabric stretches and breaks.
  • ASTM D1424, “Elmendorf Tear Test” – this test examines the force required to propagate an existing tear in your fabric.
  • ASTM D5034, “The Break Test” – this test uses a mechanical apparatus to pull the fabric from top and bottom, measuring the elongation and force necessary to tear the fabric.
  • AATCC 135, “Dimensional Change Test” – AATCC 135 takes a look at several different home laundry procedures to see if there is excessive shrinkage.

Together, these tests ensure your clothing has the guts it needs to keep up with you on the job.

Pairing these physical fabric tests with the “Big Two” tests for arc protection, ASTM F1506 ensures the fabrics used to make your arc-rated clothing deliver the complete package: the arc protection you need to stay safe and the physical durability you need to get the job done.

Want to learn more about the test methods for arc flash protection? Look out for our next post, where we take a closer look at the “Half Manikin Test” that’s used to evaluate closures like buttons and Velcro, and visit the How it’s Tested hub to view them all.

Have a flash fire hazard instead? Visit the How it’s Tested hub to explore the standards and test methods for flash fire protection.


Series: How It's Tested - All Things Testing

Miss and episode, have a different hazard, or want information on a specific test? Visit our How It's Tested Hub to follow along with our series, binge all episodes, or pick and choose based on your hazard or area of interest.

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