How It’s Tested: Episode 13 – Why ASTM F1891 is the Critical Compliance Criteria for AR Rainwear

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.

ASTM F1891 is the Standard Specification for Arc rated (AR) and Flame Resistant (FR) Rainwear – and you don’t want to confuse it with ASTM F 1506 (AR Clothing) or D6413 (Vertical Flame). ASTM F1891 provides test methods, performance criteria and purchasing information for rainwear designed to protect workers from exposure to electric arcs and open flames.

Beware of Insufficient Standards for Rainwear

Before you invest in AR/FR rainwear it is important to be aware of the standard that the garment passes to allow it to make the FR claim. Tyndale does not recommend FR rainwear with compliance claims based solely on ASTM D6413, the Vertical Flame Test. ASTM D6413 is an excellent test to determine the arc rating of standard textile fabrics, however, it is not sufficient to be used as the sole qualifier for determining the arc rating of FR rainwear.

ASTM F1891 Explained

So why should you choose rainwear that meets ASTM F1891  and not just ASTM D6413?Watch Tyndale’s VP of Technical, Scott Margolin, explain why Tyndale strongly recommends that your rainwear meets ASTM F1891.

ASTM F1891 starts with the vertical flame test, but is so much more than that. Since F1891 is an arc flash standard, it requires arc flash testing and requires that both Arc Thermal Performance Value (ATPV) and Energy Breakopen Threshold (EBT) results be reported. The test method used for determining ATPV and EBT results is ASTM F1959, which, for rainwear has a minimum arc rating of 5 cal/cm2.

Once the ATPV and EBT results are reported, the rainwear fabric is tested at twice the arc rating. This is important to ensure the rainwear fabric doesn’t melt or drip even when faced with energy that it is up to double the rating.

ASTM F1891 also tests for other important properties such as:

  • Water Penetration: ASTM D3393 is the Standard Specification for Coated Fabrics – Waterproofness. This specification establishes the minimum requirements for the hydrostatic resistance or “waterproofness” of fabrics coated with rubber or plastics. This test states that the rainwear garment has to withstand water pressure of 30 PSIG without leaking.
  • Garment Seam Penetration: Water penetration of the garments seams is also tested by FED standard 191A – Method 5516, which states that the garment seams must withstand water pressure of 3 PSIG for two minutes without leaking
  • Trapezoidal Tears: ASTM D1117 is the Standard Guide for Evaluating Nonwoven Fabrics and measures the energy necessary to propagate an existing tear in the fabric. This helps ensure the durability of your rainwear.

The logic is extremely simple: if your rainwear is expected to protect you in an arc flash it should be tested in an arc flash! Lookout for our next blog in our How It’s Tested series on flash fire protective rainwear.


Series: How It's Tested - All Things Testing

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