Workers must stay safe when working around fire and combustible materials that pose a significant physical health risk. High heat, a lack of oxygen, toxic gases, and smoke can make it difficult to follow proper procedures and stay safe. To cope with this, employees must wear FR equipment rated to withstand hazardous conditions.
Today, most FR equipment manufacturers rely on the Stoll Curve to ensure their garments can keep wearers safe. It offers a reliable way to determine the properties that safety equipment should have. But what is the Stoll Curve, and how does it work?
What Is the Stoll Curve?
While first-degree burns can be annoying, second and third-degree burns result in much more severe medical problems that will likely require immediate action. Physical scarring can occur if you expose your skin to high-intensity heat for too long.
Second-degree burns can cause blistering and swelling, resulting in some pain. Third-degree burns, on the other hand, extend into the fat layers beneath the skin, causing severe wounds that may require skin grafts or other forms of surgery to heal correctly. Fire-resistant clothing offers protection against the effects of burning, giving workers time to extinguish flames or get to safety. People use the Stoll Curve to calculate the maximum time it takes for a specific amount of energy to cause second-degree burns.
Who Invented It?
Biophysicist Alice Mary Stoll invented the Stoll Curve in 1969 after she and her colleague, Maria Chianta, performed research on the effects of heat and burning on the human body. Their particular focus was on the relationship between heat transfer of energy and exposure time. By getting a clearer picture of how much thermal energy a person can take before suffering second-degree burns, they were able to transform the safety industry.
The research resulted in the development of Nomex, a durable type of nylon capable of withstanding high heat. Ever since, the industry has relied on the Stoll Curve, which represents the information Stoll could graph from the data they’d collected.
Creating a Rating System
The Stoll Curve works by giving FR clothing manufacturers a reliable metric they can use to test their new products. Ratings offer quick guidance that consumers and businesses alike can refer to when safety is essential. Rated equipment allows wearers to protect themselves from the hazards of the job. This way, they don’t have to second guess their clothing.
By setting safety standards for others to use, the Stoll Curve makes designing, testing, and manufacturing FR equipment much faster and safer. Creating a rating system ensures clear communication between different entities along the supply chain.
Manufacturers often work with the Stoll Curve to visualize testing data and quickly improve their products. By graphing out key values, designers can identify patterns and relationships, allowing them to create better FR clothing that’s more reliable and less expensive.
The Stoll Curve is essential for understanding the complex thermodynamic relationships between heat and energy. By adopting it in their testing process, companies can know for sure how much surface area specific materials can cover before they lose their protective properties.
Because they make garments for so many industries, FR-clothing manufacturers must have a high certainty of how much direct exposure to heat their products can handle. The Stoll Curve helps them quantify their fabrics’ properties to ensure they can hold up under heavy use.
Whether it’s for FR or AR equipment, fabrics must meet minimum standards to ensure workers stay safe on the job. Self-extinguishing materials are much safer in situations where people will potentially deal with extreme temperatures and potential ignition. Industries such as oil and gas, construction, and electrical all rely on the Stoll Curve to ensure workers stay safe.
Once they’ve got the numbers, PPE manufacturers can put the Stoll Curve to work testing the performance of their equipment. FR clothing goes through a rigorous process before it reaches the public. Manufacturers use a controlled flame to see how much damage the material receives after a certain length of exposure.
The Stoll Curve sets the minimum safety requirements for garments sold on the market. By carefully testing materials using the curve, companies can be sure the products are up to the task. Once the data is in, sellers can rate the material based on the established FR-rating scale created using the Stoll Curve.
The most important thing about the Stoll Curve is that it helps to minimize risks. By visualizing data, quantifying exposure times, and testing garments, FR-rated products can mitigate the risk of exposure to heat and flames for workers across many industries.
Working with the Stoll Curve helps manufacturers create high-quality garments that hold up under extreme conditions. By requiring workers to wear FR and AR clothing, employers can do their part to keep them safe.
Businesses like the Stoll Curve because it helps them stay compliant. It gives them a practical way to measure and assess their equipment’s safety and helps them reinforce safety standards and regulatory requirements. This benefit is especially important in industries with a high exposure risk.
If companies ignore local, state, or federal safety standards, they can receive a fine, have their operations shut down, or face other legal challenges. Because PPE manufacturers use the Stoll Curve to produce their products, companies know that the items offer the protection they claim. This approach ensures they stay on the right side of the law while keeping workers safe.
Making FR Clothing Possible
Getting the job done is only possible if you have a tried and trusted method to rely on. The Stoll Curve makes it easier for businesses to keep workers safe from fire and electrical hazards. Knowing what the Stoll Curve is and how it works gives decision-makers peace of mind when equipping their employees.
The seemingly oxymoronic relationship between maximum safety, radiant energy density, and exposure length has become a staple of the FR manufacturing process. In any case, you should seek medical care as soon as possible if you’ve suffered an injury due to exposure to high heat or flames.