1992 CWU-45/p Isratex Jacket Fire-resistance Experiment; Out of curiosity...

MaydayWei

Well-Known Member
Hello everyone,

Please allow me to explain myself!
I'd like to make clear that no jackets were harmed in the making of this post! I would never do that!

With that being said, I recently got the sleeves on a beater 1992 Isratex CWU45/p jacket shortened and so had some extra poly aramid material (1st gen, pre 2010, shiny nomex) to play with.
To my knowledge, I do not think there is an existing thread on testing out the fire-resistance of the poly aramid materials that makeup our CWU jackets so I thought I'd start one.
This is by no means scientific, but was done out of plain curiousity. So, here we go.
The extra sleeve materials I was left with seemed to consist of 3 distinct layers: (1) an external nomex layer; (2) internal nomex lining, and (3) nomex filler or batting in between (please see cross section below)

IMG_9288.JPG


Now, this may have been a little reckless of me, but I held the nomex material up by putting my hand in the middle of the 'sleeve' and lit an ordinary every-day gas station cigarette lighter underneath.
And surprise, surprise! It really works! I held the lighter underneath the materials for a solid 30 seconds, and it did little to no damage.
The resulting 'damage' was just a little blackening and stickiness of the material.
With regards to the sensation, my hand felt nothing of the lighter fire but a little warmth and nothing more! I kid you not.

On a related note, it is to my understanding that 90s Istratex jackets (or all Isratex made equipment in the 90s for that matter) were involved in a scandal with regards to Jacket quality (as it was being produced elsewhere than the US in addition to using sub-par materials or something or rather) and I have also heard the oft-quoted comment that the older nomex fabric threads used in the pre 2010 CWU Jackets are notoriously fragile and are known for disintegrating or falling apart easily.
With this in mind, I purposely placed the flame close to the threads and, rather surprisingly, they held up very well. Have a look!

(The threads look perfectly fine to me, even after direct exposure to a lighter for 30 or so odd seconds)
IMG_9267.JPG


Here's a picture of the fire 'damaged' nomex next to the non-fire exposed control nomex:

IMG_9266.JPG


If I am being perfectly candid, the fire damage was hard to spot out; only under direct white light was there a clear and marked difference. In ordinary light it would be difficult to distinguish from a dirt stain or the infamous 'mottled' look of the stains that water/rain leaves on these older 1st gen shiny fabric nomex jackets.

Anyways, in conclusion, CWU45/p jackets do what they say on the can; they are literally fire-resistant. Magical. Perhaps I am a lot more excited about this than I should be, but I am haha.
Thank you for sticking with me through my rather shoddily unprofessional experiment.
And again, NO JACKETS WERE HURT IN THE MAKING OF THIS POST.

Let me know your thoughts and comments.
Have any of you guys tested out the fire-resistance (hopefully intentionally, and not unintentionally) of your CWU Jackets or materials out of sheer curiosity? Let me know.
Or if there are other threads out there relating to this topic, please feel free to direct me their way.

Cheers guys,
Wei
 

Silver Surfer

Well-Known Member
I have a Cwu-45 made by isratex, and aside from one small area of lose stitching, the jacket is super nice condition. So far as I can find, the isratex is not poorly made or made of inferior material. This observation is made by comparison to others of same contract and Cwu-36 jackets I have.
 

917_k

Well-Known Member
Interesting! And all my friends joked when I told them my jacket was fireproof...

I’ve got a couple of Isratex 45s and I must admit, compared to the 36 I own (maker escapes me) the construction quality is definitely inferior. The arm stitching has come out, which I need to fix at some point.
 

MaydayWei

Well-Known Member
I have a Cwu-45 made by isratex, and aside from one small area of lose stitching, the jacket is super nice condition. So far as I can find, the isratex is not poorly made or made of inferior material. This observation is made by comparison to others of same contract and Cwu-36 jackets I have.

Pardon me, I think my comments on Isratex jackets may have come off more critical than I had intended them to be. I did not mean to imply that Isratex are inferior.
That being said, I actually agree with you. Although my Isratex does not seem to be lacking in any way, I do tend to find that these older 1st gen shiny nomex jackets (isratex or not) have threading issues. I'm not sure why but they don't seem as robust as on the later post 2010 2nd gen nomex jackets.
In sum, I didn't mean to bash Isratex, although I may have by accident, apologies!
 

MaydayWei

Well-Known Member
Interesting! And all my friends joked when I told them my jacket was fireproof...

I’ve got a couple of Isratex 45s and I must admit, compared to the 36 I own (maker escapes me) the construction quality is definitely inferior. The arm stitching has come out, which I need to fix at some point.

Next time they doubt you send them this way.
Orrrr... put them in a beater CWU jacket and set them on fire hehe.
I'm kidding, don't do that. Y'know, unless they volunteer. ;)
And you're right, although I tend to find Isratex jackets fine in almost all other respects, it is again the sticthing that gives it away. but hey, still a damn decent jacket... and its fireproof haha.
 

Ed Rooney

Well-Known Member
I’ve done burn experiments with the sleeve pocket flap that we would cut off our flight suits. I was impressed by the fire resistance. The stringy bits would char a little, but the woven fabric performed well.

I remember at least once when I got jet fuel all over my sleeve from taking a fuel sample. I did not want to test the fire resistance of the suit soaked in JP-8, so I opted not to fly. I ended up washing the sleeve with pink liquid hand soap in the hangar latrine.
 
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MaydayWei

Well-Known Member
I’ve done burn experiments with the sleeve pocket flap that we would cut off our flight suits. I was impressed by the fire resistance. The stringy bits would char a little, but the woven fabric performed well.

I remember at least once when I got jet fuel all over my sleeve from taking a fuel sample. I did not want to test the fire resistance of the suit soaked in JP-8, so I opted not to fly. I ended up washing the sleeve with pink liquid hand soap in the hangar latrine.

Forgive me for asking Rooney, but were you an active duty pilot?
And I would imagine! Definitely would not wanna risk catching fire with proper jet fuel on ya.
Nothing quite like your experience, but a funny anecdote: I used to Kart somewhat competitively in the UK (BUKC championships); and when they would refuel the karts with us in them the fuel guys tended to spill some fuel on the crotch areas of our nomex suits by the gas tank. Let's just say we wear all a little nervous about the upcoming race.
 

Ed Rooney

Well-Known Member
I was an aircrew guy, all in the Guard. I started out as a helicopter mechanic, then I was an aerial observer for 6 years (kind of an enlisted copilot in scout helicopters), then a Crew Chief for about 4 years.

I can see the fuel spill being an issue. Your whole body, except for the most valuable bits, would be safe from the fire. That’s cruel.

I gave one of my Ill-gotten CWUs to a race car owner/driver years ago.

Forgive me for asking Rooney, but were you an active duty pilot?
And I would imagine! Definitely would not wanna risk catching fire with proper jet fuel on ya.
Nothing quite like your experience, but a funny anecdote: I used to Kart somewhat competitively in the UK (BUKC championships); and when they would refuel the karts with us in them the fuel guys tended to spill some fuel on the crotch areas of our nomex suits by the gas tank. Let's just say we wear all a little nervous about the upcoming race.
 

MaydayWei

Well-Known Member
I was an aircrew guy, all in the Guard. I started out as a helicopter mechanic, then I was an aerial observer for 6 years (kind of an enlisted copilot in scout helicopters), then a Crew Chief for about 4 years.

My words don't mean much, but thank you for your service. I'm not American, but the sentiment rings true for all who have served in any capacity to any country.
That's a hell of a job though! My admirations to you.
 

MaydayWei

Well-Known Member
Happy days! No need for moth protection then?

I would assume you are right, Mark. To my knowledge, moths can only eat organic materials (cotton, wool etc. etc.)
And as nomex isn't a naturally occurring material in the wild, reason stands to say that they are relatively moth proof too.
I guess it all depends on how desperate the moth in question is.
The day moths start eating fireproof poly aramid would be a scary day indeed. Let's hope natural evolutions doesn't get them there!
 

s4rmark

Well-Known Member
Well we will see , I currently have two jackets that are supposedly made of fire proof material . One is an Isratex cvc jacket that is in Brand new condition , the other is a valley apparel cwu 45/p that has been issued and has signs of use but as I will only wear them occasionally I hope that they will remain in good condition.
 

usafwso

Member
Hello everyone,

Please allow me to explain myself!
I'd like to make clear that no jackets were harmed in the making of this post! I would never do that!

With that being said, I recently got the sleeves on a beater 1992 Isratex CWU45/p jacket shortened and so had some extra poly aramid material (1st gen, pre 2010, shiny nomex) to play with.
To my knowledge, I do not think there is an existing thread on testing out the fire-resistance of the poly aramid materials that makeup our CWU jackets so I thought I'd start one.
This is by no means scientific, but was done out of plain curiousity. So, here we go.
The extra sleeve materials I was left with seemed to consist of 3 distinct layers: (1) an external nomex layer; (2) internal nomex lining, and (3) nomex filler or batting in between (please see cross section below)

View attachment 44441

Now, this may have been a little reckless of me, but I held the nomex material up by putting my hand in the middle of the 'sleeve' and lit an ordinary every-day gas station cigarette lighter underneath.
And surprise, surprise! It really works! I held the lighter underneath the materials for a solid 30 seconds, and it did little to no damage.
The resulting 'damage' was just a little blackening and stickiness of the material.
With regards to the sensation, my hand felt nothing of the lighter fire but a little warmth and nothing more! I kid you not.

On a related note, it is to my understanding that 90s Istratex jackets (or all Isratex made equipment in the 90s for that matter) were involved in a scandal with regards to Jacket quality (as it was being produced elsewhere than the US in addition to using sub-par materials or something or rather) and I have also heard the oft-quoted comment that the older nomex fabric threads used in the pre 2010 CWU Jackets are notoriously fragile and are known for disintegrating or falling apart easily.
With this in mind, I purposely placed the flame close to the threads and, rather surprisingly, they held up very well. Have a look!

(The threads look perfectly fine to me, even after direct exposure to a lighter for 30 or so odd seconds)View attachment 44444

Here's a picture of the fire 'damaged' nomex next to the non-fire exposed control nomex:

View attachment 44443

If I am being perfectly candid, the fire damage was hard to spot out; only under direct white light was there a clear and marked difference. In ordinary light it would be difficult to distinguish from a dirt stain or the infamous 'mottled' look of the stains that water/rain leaves on these older 1st gen shiny fabric nomex jackets.

Anyways, in conclusion, CWU45/p jackets do what they say on the can; they are literally fire-resistant. Magical. Perhaps I am a lot more excited about this than I should be, but I am haha.
Thank you for sticking with me through my rather shoddily unprofessional experiment.
And again, NO JACKETS WERE HURT IN THE MAKING OF THIS POST.

Let me know your thoughts and comments.
Have any of you guys tested out the fire-resistance (hopefully intentionally, and not unintentionally) of your CWU Jackets or materials out of sheer curiosity? Let me know.
Or if there are other threads out there relating to this topic, please feel free to direct me their way.

Cheers guys,
Wei
 

usafwso

Member
Fire, or melt resistance is part of the nomex fiber. It can't be washed out or dry-cleaned out. Unlike the older nylon stuff which will in fact burn, keep burning and melt. Nomex will burn but at that point the wearer won't live to talk about it. In a flash fire situation it will char, won't continue to burn if the flame is removed, not melt or shrink which is the intention. Isratex lost its government contract due to shoddy workmanship. Had a CWU-36 that completely fell apart at the seams. Took it back to supply for a replacement. Anyone looking on eBay or somewhere for a nomex jacket, skip the Isratex contracts for something else.
 
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