Rescue operations in coal mines are usually conducted in harmful environments characterised by risk of explosion, high ambient temperature and relative humidity. Moreover, they are usually performed with a great energy expenditure of mine rescuers. In such conditions, protective clothing has a particular role in ensuring safety. It should provide protection against hazards and support human thermoregulation. Therefore, such new generation of protective clothing with the use of smart materials was developed within a framework of the so called RESCLO project.
The developed clothing set consists of an outer protective clothing (fig. 1) used with one of two alternative variants of protective underwear: one with cooling elements made of so called phase change materials (PCMs absorb, store and release heat for optimal thermal comfort), and the second one with a ventilation system. The developed clothing assembly is compatible with mine rescuers’ equipment and meets the requirements of Directive 89/686/EEC. It provides protection against heat and flame hazards and ensures electrostatic dissipation. Thermoregulatory properties are provided by PCMs located in the collar of the protective clothing jacket and on the front and back of the underwear. PCMs varied by phase transition temperature (32 and 37°C) are used to extend the PCM effect. In the underwear with the ventilation system, the cooling air supplied from the respiratory protective device is distributed on the back. Moreover, the heart rate monitoring system is integrated into the underwear and the obtained data is transmitted via radio to a personal communicator mounted on a helmet.
Currently, the protective clothing and underwear for mine rescuers are subjected to the EC-type examination. A positive result of the examination will be a basis for placing the product on the market.
The results of this project: “Development of Protective Clothing for Mine Rescuers”, implemented as part of the strategic research project: “Improving Work Safety in Mines”, financed by the National Centre for Research and Development, were used in an article.
− Central Institute for Labour Protection – National Research Institute (CIOP-PIB) /the Leader/,
− Central Mines Rescue Station (CSRG S.A.),
− Manufacturer of Fire Uniforms (ZOSPRP WUS).