Heat and water vapor transfer behavior of thermal protective clothing is greatly influenced by the air gap entrapped in multilayer fabric system. In this study, a sweating hot plate method was used to investigate the effect of air gap position and size on thermal resistance and evaporative resistance of firefighter clothing under a range of ambient temperature and humidity. Results indicated that the presence of air gap in multilayer fabric system decreased heat and water vapor transfer abilities under normal wear. Moreover, the air gap position slightly influenced the thermal and evaporative performances of the firefighter clothing. In this study, the multilayer fabric system obtained the highest thermal resistance, when the air space was located at position B. Furthermore, the effect of ambient temperature on heat and water vapor transfer properties of the multilayer fabric system was also investigated in the presence of a specific air gap. It was indicated that ambient temperature did not influence the evaporative resistance of thermal protective clothing. A thermographic image was used to test the surface temperature of multilayer fabric system when an air gap was incorporated. These results suggested that a certain air gap entrapped in thermal protective clothing system could affect wear comfort.
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