SCORE Journal Issue 2-2015

SCORE Journal - The Official Publication of SCORE Off-Road Racing

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Page 75 of 93

ST3000 RACE SUIT OFFERS OUTSTANDING COOLING PROPERTIES FOR HOT DESERT RACING. "The greatest risks for off-road racing drivers are of bodily injuries from crashes and ensuing fire." –Philippe de Lespinay have had to have first recognized a fire on board the Trophy Truck, get it stopped, and get out of the machine before they could assess whether they could save the truck with fire extinguishers. The window of time to escape would be very narrow in the seconds it would take to stop the vehicle and get out of an active fire, whatever the factual cause of it turned out to be. "The greatest risks for off- road racing drivers are of bodily injuries from crashes and ensuing fire," says Philippe de Lespinay, Secretary of the Stand 21 "Racing Goes Safer" Safety Foundation. "Most off-road racers today are amateurs with regular weekday jobs, many over 40 years old and no longer in optimum physical condition, adding to the risks. In case of a crash during a stage, unlike on a closed racing circuit it may take minutes to hours before physical or medical help arrives. Because of the larger amount of fuel carried by off-road racing vehicles, the potential for fire is greatly increased. It is critical that drivers in conscious state extricate themselves from their often rolled vehicle before falling prey to the danger of exceeding the window of time in which their personal equipment can protect them from grave burns or worse. Refueling is also very dangerous for both drivers and crew, and even wearing protective suits, sport shoes and mechanics gloves most often worn by the service crew are woefully inadequate when exposed to flames." BEHIND THE SCIENCE Through extensive research and development, the scientists at DuPont created NOMEX® more than three decades ago. This synthetic flame resistant material is one of the most widely used woven fabrics in the manufacturing of driver suits. There are other types of fire-resistant chemical treatments commonly used in protective apparel, but NOMEX® is the most reliable and stable fibrous material that protects by forming an inert barrier between the flames of a fire, and the effects of exposure to fire on human skin. According to many fire suit manufacturers, NOMEX® doesn't drip, and it won't melt. When heat temperatures reach approximately 698°F, the molecular structure of the atoms of NOMEX® synthetic fibers re-align and inflate, or bloat, to soak up heat energy and to create a protective carbon coating on the outside of the fiber. This atomic re-arrangement of NOMEX® fibers becomes another layer of thermally protective heat barrier until it cools down. When the carbon coating forms, the woven fibers of the driver suit tighten up the weave, keeping oxygen out, and the material gets thicker. Carbon doesn't melt until the heat reaches about 6,830°F. When the carbon layer forms, a thermal insulation is created by keeping the heat on the outside of the carbon, away from the side touching skin, to provide more time to react. Temperatures reaching 698°F would be a circumstance where the driver would experience full- on contact with fire, and the fire suit would be functioning at its maximum capacity for driver 076 SCORE JOURNAL

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