Did you know that the safety precautions in formula 1 racing were made even more stringent just before the 2007 season? The nose and rear structures now have to crumple up more softly and a six-millimeter-thick layer of carbon and Zylon ® protects the flanks of the safety cell. Zylon ® is intended to prevent objects such as splinters from entering the cockpit. An F1 suspension spring slamming into a driver’s helmet at 160mph. That’s the racing incident which prompted the latest design tweak to motor sport’s finest head protector. A Zylon ® strip across the visor will make the already super-tough F1 helmets even tougher.
Nomex® suits are very popular in car racing as personal protection in the case of accidents on the track or in the pit that may result in a flash fire incident. It is recommended that not only the driver of the vehicle has the protection of a Nomex ® garment but also any personal that may in any way become involved in an accidental fire situation. The characteristics of Nomex ® fabric are what makes Nomex ® a very good choice for the design of flame resistant apparel in car racing. The fiber is composed of a synthetic chemical that is in itself inherently flame resistant. This flame resistant property cannot be washed or dry cleaned out of the Nomex ® fiber and is therefore conserved for the life of the garment. Nomex® will not burn in air like a cotton fabric and will not melt and drip like a polyester fabric. When exposed to a heat source the Nomex ® fabric will actually expand from the heat source resulting in establishing a defensive mechanism from the flame source. When exposed to a flame source Nomex ® absorbs the heat energy and the fiber will swell up, thickening in the process which in turn helps to stop heat transfer to the individual person. In the case of static electricity, which can possibly be a hazard in petroleum plants, Nomex ® IIIA incorporates a static dissipate which attracts static charges to its carbon core which results in lowering the static charge. Kevlar ® is also added to the Nomex ® IIIA to help establish a stronger break open point for the garments. This addition of 5% Kevlar also helps to establish Nomex ® IIIA as having a better abrasive resistant factor and longer garment life compared to FR Cotton fabrics.