Man-in-Simulant Test (MIST) laboratory

The new Man-in-Simulant Test (MIST) laboratory, located at North Carolina State University’s College of Textiles, allows researchers to realistically evaluate the capabilities of first responder protective garments against non-toxic vapors that resemble harmful chemical and biological agents. The MIST facility is the only one of its kind located at a university in the United States, and represents another step in the evolution of NC State’s Textile Protection and Comfort Center (TPACC).

A sophisticated 34-zone sweating, walking, and breathing “Newton” thermal manikin system from Thermetrics was built for the MIST facility to provide researchers with the capability to run repetitive and long-term performance tests that human subjects weren’t suitable for. The MIST facility allows protective garments to be tested in a functional manner within an environment that can be controlled for temperature, wind speed and simulant vapor concentration. In the main testing chamber, researchers test for the penetration of chemical vapors through protective clothing, using special pads placed underneath the clothing that absorb any simulant infiltration. Pads are then analyzed to determine vapor penetration levels through the fabric as well as at potential failure points such as garment seams and closures.

The MIST facility’s Newton includes an external lung/breathing system, also manufactured by Thermetrics, that consists of pneumatic cylinders which are cycled in and out by a linear actuator to replicate the cycle, frequency, and volume of human breathing. Each cylinder volume is approximately 1.4 liters, for a total volume of 2.8 L. This breathing system connects to the manikin with hoses for inhaling and exhaling. Hoses are routed out through a fully sealed head mounting post, to eliminate the need for penetrations in the tested garment. Breathing patterns can be easily set for nose only (in/out), mouth only (in/out), or nose/mouth, in any combination.

During the past decade, TPACC research has led to many advances in protective garments; including new fire- and heat-resistant fabrics for firefighters, surgical gowns that provide doctors and nurses with greater protection against infection from blood and other biological agents, as well as more effective, more comfortable outerwear to help safeguard HAZMAT workers from dangerous chemical agents.

Thermetrics is honored to have been selected as the supplier for much of the thermal comfort test equipment used at TPACC. This equipment includes two 34-zone Newton thermal manikin systems; one SGHP-10.5 sweating guarded hotplate; one 8-zone thermal hand manikin for testing the insulation and moisture transmission qualities of mittens and gloves; two (soon to be six) high temperature hand forms for flash-fire and radiant heat protection tests; and last but not least, two Stored Energy Test (SET) devices - developed in combination with NC State researchers for the new ASTM 2731 test standard.

As TPACC moves into new research areas requiring ever-more-specialized test equipment, Thermetrics has kept pace - providing the most innovative, high performance, user-friendly thermal testing systems available from any manufacturer. If Thermetrics' comprehensive line of hotplate, thermal manikin, flame test, and environmental comfort evaluation systems aren’t quite right for you, our engineers would be happy to customize any system to your exact specifications. Contact us!