In addition to the overall garment performance, the European standard for each garment Type also specifi es a number of minimum performance requirements, known as the performance Class for the constituent fabrics and seams. These performance properties include technical attributes such as abrasion resistance, puncture resistance, tensile strength, and chemical permeation and penetration (please see Annexe 4). Each fabric property has usually between 1 and 6 performance Classes where Class 6 relates to the highest performance and Class 1 to the mini- mum performance requirement). This classifi cation system for the fabric helps specifi ers to differentiate between different functional characteristics.

These mechanical properties are a very important part of the protection equation because they introduce a durability factor into the garment appraisal. Because fabric barrier tests are conducted on brand-new garments under static conditions, they do not indicate whether a barrier property will be maintained over time under real working conditions. Protective garments must perform from the moment they are put on to the moment they are taken off and in an operating environment they can be subject to stresses which might compromise the protective performance e.g. by abrasion or tearing.


Table 5. Mechanical performance tests.

Test method Norm Scope/Principle

Abrasion resistance

EN 530 Method 2 Abrasion is the physical destruction of fibers, yarns, fabrics resulting from the rubbing of the textile suface over an abrasive glass paper. It ultimately affects the appearance of the fabric and results in the loss of performance properties after a number of cycles.

Flex cracking resistance

EN ISO 7854 Method B

Flex cracking simulates repeated flex and folds in the fabric. The number of cycles to failure indicated by cracks and holes is recorded.

Tear resistance

EN ISO 9073-3 Tear resistance determines the trapezoid tear resistance of a nonwovens by applying a continuously increasing extension in such a way that a tear propagates across the width.

Tensile strength

EN ISO 13934-1 Tensile strength determines the maximum force and elongation at maximum force of the fabric using a strip method. The fabric is extended at a constant rate until it ruptures.

Puncture resistance

EN 863 Puncture records the maximum force required to push a spike through the fabric with a constant rate until it perforates.

Seam strength EN ISO 13935-2 Seam strength determines the maximum force of sewn seams when the force is applied perpendicularly to the seam which is extended until it ruptures.

Penetration by liquids

EN ISO 6530 Gutter test method determines indices of penetration, repellency and absorption by applying a fi ne stream of a test liquid toi the surface of a clothing material resting in a inclined gutter.

Permeation by liquids

EN ISO 6529 Method A

Permeation test method determines breakthrough detection time at normalized permeation rate and cumulative mass by analysing quantitatively the chemical concentration that has permeated after initial continuous contact with the chemical.

Surface resistance

EN 1149-1

Antistatic test method is intended for materials used for electrostatic dissipative protective clothing to avoid incendiary discharge. A potential is applied to an electrode assembly rested on the fabric placed on an insulating base plate and the resistance of the fabric is recorded. The lower the resistance, the better the electrostatic dissipation performance.

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Annexe 252