Originally designed for the French army in the 1960s, Kermel had to offer a blend of comfort, flexibility and give to handle the rigours of war, and protection from flames, fires and even chemicals.
The link with the military continues to this day although, as with so many other military innovations, the wider world found uses for Kermel. The material has become a tried and tested option for the electrical, gas and petrochemical businesses and it’s become a protective option for fire-fighters, riot police and flight crews. And they are becomingly increasingly involved in the world of sports too; their SKEED® range providing protection for competitors involved in high speed activities. SKEED® clothing:
- Protects racing drivers and mechanics against intense Hyrdrocarbon fires.
- Protects motorcycle drivers from heat and burn in the event of a slide. The heat from friction can be intense.
- Protects against cold, and friction burning from slides for skiers.
Kermel comes as a smooth-surfaced, supple fibre with a round cross section, and is available in a number of colours. This means it can be manufactured into comfortable, durable and stylish workwear for use over long periods. The fabric is washable, retaining its shape at high temperatures, and unlike some other flame retardant fabrics is it naturally resistant to detergents making it incredibly easy to care for.
Kermel is a polyamide-imide of the meta-aramid family, it is inherently non-flammable due to the chemical structure of the fibres themselves. Kermel has a very low flammability rating with a Limiting Oxygen Index (LOI) of 30-32% meaning that it physically cannot burn in air. It’s certified ISO 9001 v.2008 for Quality, OHSAS 18001 for Safety, and OEKOTEX Standard 100 for Health.
(For more info on safety standards, stay tuned – we’ll be taking a more in-depth look at the European standards and codes that measure the effectiveness of flame retardant fabrics next week.)
During brief exposure to temperatures of over 1000°C Kermel has a high thermostability, meaning garments maintain integrity and keep a protective layer of air between skin and clothing. Prolonged exposure to temperatures of around 500°C will cause the polymer to gradually lose mass to charring.
Kermel is also resistant to most chemical agents. It provides effective protection against concentrated acids and dilute alkalis at ambient temperatures (i.e. the temperature of the surroundings) when immersed for extended periods of time. The fabric can also withstand most organic solvents and chlorine bleach, retaining its integrity when exposed to for a short period of time (i.e. an accidental splash) and sustaining its protective screen effect.
Kermal is a workhorse, it combines high levels of inherent protection with comfort and long term durability as well as resistance to detergents, meaning it and take wash after wash without losing its fireproof properties. As a long term investment in worker safety Kermal is hard to beat.
Limiting Oxygen Concentration Graph: Wikimedia Commons