3D Functional Nonwovens with Integrated Gas Sensor Technology for Emergency Forces' Protective Clothing (3D-PAKtex)


During a fire, many toxic gases develop, to which firefighters are exposed. These include so-called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). These carcinogenic substances adhere to soot particles, which can penetrate protective clothing and skin, thus entering the bloodstream and accumulating in body fat. Studies have shown an increase in cancer incidence in this occupational group.

Goals and Procedure

The aim of the 3D-PAKtex project is to improve the personal protection of the emergency services from soot-borne PAH. The core element is innovative nonwovens coated with adsorbing materials for these hazardous substances and which, by being functionalized, enable permanent protection. These textiles are intended to supplement existing protective clothing by providing quickly and easily replaceable inner layers. In order to monitor the protective effect, specific sensor systems are implemented and integrated into the functional nonwoven fabric. Via a communication interface, the task force can also check the remaining capacity to bind the pollutants during fire fighting.

Innovations and Perspectives

With the 3D-functionalized nonwovens used to eliminate soot-borne PAHs from the fire gases, the project contributes significantly to the firefighters’ long-term health protection. The concept of the insert, easily integrated into existing protective clothing, supports rapid and comprehensive implementation. By adapting the adsorbing materials, the concept is transferable to other application fields.

In Funktionskleidung integrierte Vliese und Sensorik zur Detektion von PAK aus Brandgasen.
© Fraunhofer IWS
Fleeces and sensor technology integrated into functional clothing for the detection of PAHs from fire gases.
Test der 3D-Funktionkleidung in der Brandcontaineranlage.
© Fraunhofer IWS
Test of the 3D functional clothing in the fire container facility.
Gemeinsames Projekttreffen auf dem I.F.R.T.-Gelände (International Fire & Rescue Training) in Külsheim.
© Fraunhofer IWS
Joint project meeting at the I.F.R.T. (International Fire & Rescue Training) site in Külsheim.

Press and Media


Press Release / 19.9.2023

Intelligent Textiles as Protection against PAH Toxins

Fraunhofer IWS Supports Industry Partners in the Development of New Protective Suits for Firefighters