Testing of clothing materials used by the U.S. Air Force to protect aircrews from chemical warfare agents began Sept. 16 at Dugway Proving Ground, to determine if the contaminating agent may be practically off-gassed enough to allow clothing to be safely reused.
The U.S. Air Force Vapor Off-gassing Re-use Test (VORT) is conducted in the SPiTFiRE (Swatch Permeation Test Fixture, Reengineered), a new DPG test fixture that reduces cost of operation and time of setup.
Chemical agent is disseminated across the half-dollar-sized material sample, or swatch, then halted for observers to monitor the rate of chemical agent decay. If off-gassing allows the safe reuse of clothing, then resupply, money, time and effort will all be reduced.
To prove that SPiTFiRE works as required, 18 pilot trials will be conducted with unworn material, faux sweat, and diverse temperatures, humidity, agent type and concentration to the end of 2020. Standard testing begins in early 2021 with fewer combinations over some months.