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Author Topic: Undies - wicking-style like UnderArmour
Brandon F. Verified Driver
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Had another question - re: Nomex underwear w/SFI-5 suit

Having worn the UnderArmour (UA) line of products for jogging/running (both cold & warm weather) I find the perspiration wicking they perform to be a good thing to have.

Is there any Nomex underwear product that does a similar thing? The Sparco/OPM/Oakley/MOMO product pages don't seem too clear on this capability and after wearing my full suit this weekend for a single 25 minute ride-along (don't ask*) I think I'll be a lot cooler overall if I'm wearing something similar to the UA stuff.

Does anyone have any opinions regarding the various brands of undies? Or, as I learned in another post, you can get "cheap" ones from fire department supply companies so you could buy multiple sets to wear over a weekend.

Thanks again,
Brandon

* Made a PCA event on Sunday at Pocono but was wearing shorts & a T-shirt. Told 'long sleeves & long pants' so off I ran to my still-new suit in the back of the truck! [Cool] Was I ever!

davecarama Verified Driver
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FYI, Nomex goodies are made of natural fibers and the Underarmour goodies are made of a poly fiber. The polly threads are like plastic shrink wrap when they get burnt, meaning they get hot, sticky and shrink. NOT what you want in a fire.

That said, I would imagine that if you had a 3 layer suit, you wouldn't need nomex undies, so your underarmour goodies would be good enough.

This is the way I see it anyway, I am sure others can/will add/correct my statements.

Kent Carter Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Trivial points perhaps, but Nomex is not a natural fiber, it's Kevlar with a twist: pure polyamide.

The issue at hand is behavior under fire. Most synthetics melt and stick to the skin like a laminate. Huge issue. You can stand temps of 170F on your skin for a moment or two, but once you melt it into your skin, you are burnt. That's what polyester does. You don't want it anywhere around in a fire. Period.

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Do I turn my 99 Hard S into a killerfast SM or seek a donor?

spdmonkey Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Exactly what Kent said. Stuff works great under hockey pads, but I don't want it anywhere near my bod in a race car.

db

John Mueller Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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quote:
Originally posted by Kent Carter:
Trivial points perhaps, but Nomex is not a natural fiber...

What about CarbonX ??

--------------------
Thanks,
John Mueller
NASA SM National Director
http://www.Weekend-Racer.com
#13 "Tiger Miata" - 2009 SoCal SSM Champion

Gibscreen Verified Driver Series Champ
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CarbonX and Carmyth are supposed to have better moisture-wicking qualities than standard nomex, at least that's what the ads say.

As to polyester and other "melting" fibers...call me paranoid but I don't even want my crew to wear that stuff when they're over the wall during enduro pit stops, and I would personally never wear anything like that under my fire suit, especially over the delicate bits. Is that really where you want polyester to be melting?

Side note--I was looking into those fancy looking button down crew shirts, and I was shocked to see that most of them are at least 60% polyester. It's either nomex or 100% cotton for my crew. They can learn how to use an iron and spray starch!

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Rob Gibson
RJ Racing
2010 NASA Nationals TTE Champion
2008/2009 WERC Champion
2007 NASA SoCal SM Champion
rjracing.net
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Gatoratty Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Sparco Makes fireproof underwear called ICE that wick moisture away and also releases menthol to cool skin.

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Paul McLester

Andy Bettencourt Verified Driver
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Can any of this stuff 'wick' away moisture if it isn't exposed to air on the other side?

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Andy Bettencourt
Flatout Motorsports
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Gatoratty Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Yes. It wicks the moisture to your drivers suit. Think of dipping a piece of string in water and you can see the water absorb up the string. Samething with the fibers. ICE uses a chemical process to increase the wicking ability of the thread. I still would rather use my Cool Shirt.

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Paul McLester

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https://www.smartwool.com/default.cfm

--------------------
"Your victory is tainted! Asterisk! Asterisk!!!"--Lisa Simpson

davecarama Verified Driver
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Sorry about the natural fiber statement. I was using it to make the point easier to understand. I even thought about what I was writing when I wrote it... but figured someone else would jump in and clear it up better than I could [Wink]

My point was natural = burns and goes away; Poly = melts and sticks/burns the crap out of you.

My strategy is to not burn! [Smile]

Brandon F. Verified Driver
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Sorry guys - guess I wasn't totally clear when I mentioned UnderArmour.

I do realize it's a synthetic fiber and would be a candidate for the fail blog if any racer would wear it while driving.

What I was looking for was the suggestion of the CarbonX and/or the Sparco ICE stuff.

Thanks guys and look forward to banging fenders with you next season!

Brandon

Kent Carter Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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http://www.drifire.com/

--------------------
Do I turn my 99 Hard S into a killerfast SM or seek a donor?

Brandon F. Verified Driver
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Kent,
Not to be obtuse, but do all of DriFire's products qualify for the same ratings as "Nomex racewear undergarments"?

They're definitely less expensive than any other Nomex products but want to be certain there wouldn't be any complaints from tech if I was found to be wearing these.

Kent Carter Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Brandon, I honestly know very little about them. I saw an ad for them in the Atlanta airport and looked at their webpage. My take, after reading their website, is that I would be willing to put it under my /5 suit for comfort, but I wouldn't rely on it with a lesser suit.

--------------------
Do I turn my 99 Hard S into a killerfast SM or seek a donor?

Keith in WA Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Unfortunately only part of their page loads on my computer so I don't know what material drifire is using however seems to be a misconception on synthetic fabrics.

Thermoplastics are bad in a fire. They start out as plastic pellets which are melted down to form whatever. Extruded into threads in this case. The chemical composition remains unchanged so when you heat them back to the melt point...they melt. (Go figure [scratchchin] )

Thermosets are two materials combined that react together and form a new chemical composition. Fire resistant thermosets don't melt and don't actively burn. Heat will make them char, but when you take the heat away they don't continue to burn on their own. The list of fireworthy thermosets is pretty small however. (Some create really toxic smoke including stuff like cyanide.)

In some cases, "burns and goes away" is good in a fire. Once the fuel is gone there is nothing left to burn, create toxic smoke, etc. If there is very little material it can burn away quickly without adding too much heat and toxic fumes during the process. "Burns and goes away" next to your skin is not so good. You're better off with a material that doesn't burn easily so it can continue to keep your skin away from the fire. Not all natural materials burn and go away either. Wool and leather have excellent fire properties. Some, like cotton, will burn and go away but do so slowly thus throughout the burning process they're creating a lot of heat and if that's against your skin, you won't be happy.

Carbon-x is a coating that actually burns. It's basically the same material in the 4th o' July "snakes". When it burns, it expands to many times it's original size and forms an even better insulating layer between the heat of the fire and your delicate bits. Based on my balaclava, I think it's itchy and doesn't hold it's shape well but that could just be the way it's knit in my case.

--------------------
Keith Novak
(Will work for tires)

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I wonder if we can continue this thread to discuss Suits and underwear.

After several seasons with a single layer suit and nomex underwear I am looking for replacement/upgrade.

Carbon X: Is it more comfortable or less comfortable than Nomex. Comments from any one that has used it?

Is wool or drifire underwear and socks legal?
Any Feedback from a Tech Inspectpor?

Some suits now have Carbon x as the inside layer which sounds great along with some Carbon x undies. This seems great for protection?? How about comfort.

The drifire properties from the link above are:
•No Melt, No Drip
•No After-flame
•Charlength is 3.5 inches
•Thermal Protective Property (TPP) is > 7 cal/cm2

So that is 3.5 seconds (I think).

The TPP seems to be the best measure for safety but not all suits list this spec.


I am thinking about a 2 layer suit with one layer of FR underwear (Carbon X or Nomex or wool?) (so the underwear gets stinly and not the suit). Also want stuff that wicks moisture.

I would like to purchace a new suit to be on the safe side of things.

Is this the correct thread or should this question be moved or consolidated to another.

Thanks

--------------------
Phil
Silver 38 SM/ITA

Gatoratty Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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At PRI I looked at the Sparco ICE underwear and plan on buying a balaclava from that line. It wicks and gives off a menthol vapor to cool the skin. I wear Simpson Carbon-x socks and they are soft and comfortable. I was trying to find the TPP on Alpinestar suits, but no luck.

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Paul McLester

Kent Carter Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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menthol??? you are kidding, right?

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Do I turn my 99 Hard S into a killerfast SM or seek a donor?

Gatoratty Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Kent...me kid you? [Big Grin] If you rub the material to create heat...it smells like peppermint or menthol. Supposed to be very cooling to the skin. I am only looking at the balaclava because I use my cool shirt most of the year. I might get the pants as well.
http://www.winecountrymotorsports.com/product_info.php?products_id=40

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Paul McLester

Dusty Bottoms Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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I bought myself 2 of each of these for biking and running in the cold. The prices are great and they perform awesome as a base layer. I don't know how they would do in the summer under a driving suit.

http://www.minus33.com/merino-wool-baselayer-index.html

I am going full-on wool for anything that touches my skin for biking since the normal performance synthetics make me breakout and they stink even after washing. I used the same top for 3 runs without washing in between. I just hung it to dry after the run and it doesn't smell at all.

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"Your victory is tainted! Asterisk! Asterisk!!!"--Lisa Simpson

Keith in WA Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Phil,
I'll try and help answer a couple of your questions. If you have a suit with the SFI 3/5 rating, you can wear whatever you want under it. I'd still recommend something flame resistant.

Carbon-X won't necessarily make you safer. It allows better fire resistance with less material so it has the potential to keep you cooler while driving, then in a fire it chars and expands and provides a much higher level of protection. You could get equal protection with nomex. It would just take thicker/warmer nomex. My carbon-x balaclava is itchy but it sounds like other garments aren't.

The drifire properties look pretty good at a glance. I coudn't say much more without knowing more about the test protocol.

The TPP is an important property that often isn't listed. With racing suits that's where the level of SFI or FIA rating comes in. FIA is a higher standard than SFI 3/5 but 3/5 is the highest level an FIA suit meets so it's considered equivalent or better by non-FIA bodies. Just because a number of suits have the same rating, it doesn't mean they're equal. That's just the highest level of requirements they meet. Some might just meet while others will have a larger safety margin.

There are a number of fire worthy materials out there. Some do the same things as carbon-x but are a different brand.

I'm a fan of wool since it's been used as a fire resistant fabric for many many years and still is today. Merino wool is comfy but often it's loaded with lycra to make it stretchy. That stuff Antonio linked looks nice since it's 100% merino. I'm suprised it's not more expensive.

Are wool socks legal? The rule isn't specific so knowing what I know about wool, I'd say yes if they're 100% wool. Same with FR rated socks for foundery work etc. I've done R&D on fire worthy fabrics though so I know more on that subject than the average tech inspector. Would I win the argument and not have to change my socks? If the inspector is rational but not all are (most are.)

Be carful when looking at "fire resistant" materials though. Some, like for types of military use are flash resistant. It's meant to protect you from a sudden flash of intense heat, not prolonged exposure.

--------------------
Keith Novak
(Will work for tires)

ChrisA
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You know, I bet that terrorist who tried to blow up the plane on Christmas wishes he had some nomex undies after he failed to blow up. Personally, I'm glad he didn't have them though, got a little of what he deserves. [Mad]

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Chris

"Nothing can be simple. Everything's got to be a pain in the ass." - C. Adams

Kent Carter Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Menthol is nuts. It doesn't actually cool the skin or you, it just activates the TRPM8 receptor on nerve cells, which sends a 'chill' signal to the brain. If anything, it could actually be harmful. This is really nuts!

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Do I turn my 99 Hard S into a killerfast SM or seek a donor?

Gatoratty Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Kent somehow I think if it was harmful....Sparco wouldn't be using the coating. They make some of the best (and safest) racing gear available.

--------------------
Paul McLester

Dusty Bottoms Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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quote:
Originally posted by Kent Carter:
Menthol is nuts. It doesn't actually cool the skin or you, it just activates the TRPM8 receptor on nerve cells, which sends a 'chill' signal to the brain. If anything, it could actually be harmful. This is really nuts!

It's like drinking brandy to warm up in the winter. [Smile]

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"Your victory is tainted! Asterisk! Asterisk!!!"--Lisa Simpson

Unsafe Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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For anyone looking at the Alpine Stars or any
SFI 3.2A/5 suit, the minimum TPP value is 19, or roughly 10 seconds before 2nd degree burns are incurred. FIA suits offer a TPP just under SFI 3.2/10, or about 19 seconds of protection. No one will give an exact rating for underwear because fit and air pockets between layers make a difference, but a good set of SFI 3.3 or FIA approved underwear can extend your TPP rating.

Also at PRI was Charles Espenlaub's Sparco suit that he was wearing during the Enduro fire last month. Three layer suit, outer layers worked perfectly and the inner layer was intact. He was wearing full underwear, too. Others have specific details, but about 20 seconds in the flames, plus fuel on the suit burned after he exited. Burns mostly in hand and wrist area and on cheek above balaclava...another important piece not to be overlooked.

The budget factor comes into play, but buy the best you can afford...FIA and SFI3.2A/5 for me, with carbonX underneath (I must say the minty undies did smell nice). No under armour style fabrics....

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Mike Asselta
http://www.saferacer.com

Unsafe Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Also, Charles' helmet was intact but charred, including a blackened and bubbled visor...make sure to get that visor down and practice exiting your car blindfolded....zero visibility for him inside that helmet. It really was sobering to see his equipment after the incident.

--------------------
Mike Asselta
http://www.saferacer.com

   

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