Whether you’re working in a steel mill, foundry or welding shop, there are all kinds of potential hazards that can threaten your safety and health – including molten metal splash, metal fumes, and radiant heat exposure.
Skilled metal industry workers need reliable PPE including high-quality flame-resistant apparel that’s built to last and capable of protecting from a wide range of hazards. This includes aluminized jackets and other heat resistant clothing. Because aluminized clothing is effective at reflecting radiant heat, aluminized outerwear like jackets or coats - in addition to other aluminized PPE - is often worn by journeymen, tradesmen, and semi-skilled workers who are exposed to high-temperature steam, radiant heat and molten splash hazards.
Ambient temperatures regularly exceed 100°F in mills and foundries. Because heat-stress is also a concern for metal industry workers, high-performance PPE that is as lightweight and breathable as possible is important.
Aluminized Coats and Jackets for Molten Metal Splash and Radiant Heat Protection
Aluminized jackets are an important part of a personal protective equipment plan for workers exposed to molten metal splash, molten glass, or radiant heat. These jackets are primary protective clothing designed to reflect radiant heat and protect workers from burns when working in high temperature environments. When paired with other task-based PPE and base layers, aluminized jackets help prevent minor injuries, disfiguration, and death in foundries, steel mills, and welding shops.
Aluminized coats and jackets are made from woven fabrics including a FR base fabric and multiple layers of aluminum and protective films. Featuring a reflective coating which reflects up to 95 percent of thermal radiation away from the wearer, aluminized clothing helps prevent burns caused by contact with heat sources like burning metals, hot glass, and other materials.
Aluminized jackets are constructed from woven multi-layer fabrics coated with a highly reflective mirror finish. Some fabric blends can withstand temperatures as high as 3000°F for short durations. These heat and fire resistant fabrics will not burn, melt, or ignite.
Ferrous and Non-Ferrous Molten Metal Splash Protection
Molten metal splash occurs when liquids, moisture or wet materials come into contact with molten metal, causing the metal to explode and throw dangerous molten metal into the air. Molten metal splash can burn through clothing and cause severe burns on the skin beneath. For workers exposed to ferrous molten metals – like steel or carbon steel – molten metal protective clothing is essential. Aluminized safety clothing - including aluminized jackets - shed both ferrous and non-ferrous molten metals.
Radiant Heat Protection
Proximity to metal fabrication furnaces, where temperatures commonly exceed 1,000°F, also requires adequate radiant heat protection. Without adequate heat resistant clothing, foundry, mill, and blast furnace workers risk severe thermal burns, which can have devastating effects on quality of life.
Aluminized Jackets vs. Non-Aluminized Jackets
Durable, dependable, multi-hazard protection is essential in high-heat environments like foundries and mills. Risk exposure to molten metal substances requires head-to-toe protection. This includes PPE that protects the torso and arms like aluminized jackets, coats, or suits. Aluminized sleeves and aprons may also be included in a PPE plan for welders, mill & foundry workers.
Workers in a nonferrous foundry may choose to wear non-aluminized jackets constructed from fabrics that protect from radiant heat and non-ferrous molten metal splash (800-1800 degrees). Non-aluminized jackets are more lightweight, which can increase productivity, help workers avoid heat-stress injuries, while still provide resistance to radiant heat and non-ferrous molten metal splash hazards.
Aluminized jackets offer protection against high contact heat and radiant heat as well as molten aluminum and iron splash (up to 2,900 degrees) and non-ferrous molten metal splash. Aluminized coats and jackets – when worn with other aluminized PPE and secondary protection - offer a suitable level of protection for workers in ferrous metal foundries and steel mills.
Aluminized PPE Safety Standards
ASTM International Safety Standards for protective clothing worn by industrial workers exposed to hazards like molten metal splash and radiant heat include:
ASTM F955 - An aluminized jacket for foundry and metal work should be constructed out of fabric that has met the requirements of the ASTM F955 pour test. The ASTM F955 standard is used to demonstrate and measure the protective performance of fabrics against heat transfer and molten metal splash. ASTM F955 testing ensures that the aluminized fabric has been evaluated for its ability to shed molten metal from its surface without sticking.
ASTM F1939 - An aluminized jacket for foundry and metal work should be constructed out of fabric that has met the requirements of the ASTM F1939 test method, which is required by ASTM F1002 (Standard Performance Specification for Protective Clothing and Materials for Use by Workers Exposed to Specific Molten Substances and Related Thermal Hazards). ASTM F1939 uses a continuous heat source to measure the radiant heat resistance of flame-resistant clothing materials.
Aluminized jackets are constructed out of inherently flame-resistant materials that won’t burn, support combustion, or melt. However, regarding arc flash risk: “Aluminized clothing does work effectively to block radiant energy from an Arc Flash event; however, since aluminum is a good conductor of electricity, the aluminized fabric can increase the probability of an Arc Flash accident” (Source: EE Online). Aluminized safety clothing that also meets OSHA 1910.269 arc flash protection standards offer the most multi-hazard protection available for foundry, mill, and other metalworkers.
Aluminized Coat and Jacket Fabrics and Design Features
Along with offering protection from molten metal splash, radiant heat, and other thermal hazards, important features for aluminized jackets include abrasion resistance, durability, mobility, and comfort. Fabric type, length, sizing, design features such as vented back for airflow, and cost also need to be considered before purchasing any aluminized coat, jacket, suit, or other molten metal protective clothing.
Standard aluminized fabrics for jackets and coats include:
Pros: Aluminized rayon is an economical aluminized fabric, relatively inexpensive compared to other aluminized materials. Aluminized rayon is lightweight, flexible, and capable of reflecting radiant heat at the same level as other materials.
Cons: Aluminized rayon does not perform as well with resisting abrasion and molten metal splash as other materials used in molten metal splash protective clothing. Fabric that is more likely to tear over time may be a concern in high-risk work environments.
2.) Aluminized Fiberglass/Para-Aramid Fiber Blend
Pros: Aluminized fabrics featuring a blend of fiberglass and para-aramid fibers offer high temperature resistance and abrasion resistance.
Cons: The heavier weight of this material increases the risk of heat stress injuries and decreases work productivity by providing less flexibility and comfort.
Pros: OPF (organic-coated para-aramid fiber) and carbon fiber or Kevlar blend fabrics provide great abrasion strength. These blends are durable, resistant to tearing, and will effectively repel molten metal splash at high temperatures.
Cons: Carbon fiber or Kevlar-based aluminized fabrics are generally more expensive and can become rigid over time.
According to Industrial Safety & Hygiene News, “There is a common perception among professionals working in molten metal and high-heat environments that aluminized protective apparel must be heavy and rigid in order to adequately protect against both radiant heat and molten metal splash. […] New fabrics and technologies are now being introduced that do not require professionals to sacrifice comfort and productivity for protection. These fabrics can protect against both radiant heat and molten metal splash at a fraction of the weight of current alternatives, and they offer significantly improved flexibility.”
PPE helps prevent disfiguring, severe or fatal thermal burns, and deep dermal burns from molten metal splash. Lightweight yet highly protective aluminized fabric innovations from leading industrial PPE brands like National Safety Apparel have made the important task of reliably, and comfortably, protecting yourself or your employees from fatal workplace accidents and injuries easier than ever.
Best Aluminized Jacket for Comfort, Protection, & Performance
National Safety Apparel is one of the largest manufacturers of aluminized protective clothing in U.S. They offer a variety of aluminized jacket and clothing options including highly protective blends of Kevlar and OPF fabrics.
National Safety Apparel’s Carbon Armour line now includes their new lightweight 11 oz. aluminized OPF Ripstop Fabric blend. Carbon Armour’s proprietary Rip Stop crosshatch woven OPF blends are ultra-durable and will not tear. Independently tested to meet ASTM F955 molten metal, ASTM F1939 radiant heat, and OSHA 1910.269 arc flash protection standards, the bestselling Carbon Armour H5 Foundry Aluminized Jacket offers 2,900°F Molten Metal and 3,000+°F Radiant Heat Protection as well as patented design features for mobility & comfort including:
- Underarm gussets – which extend range of movement and arm comfort
- Articulated elbows – providing extra material that will not wear out for extended garment life & mobility
- Ventilated action back – this feature provides elasticity, extended movement, comfort, and airflow
- Snap Front Closure with Leather Pull Tabs – this design lets you open the jacket while wearing gloves
The Carbon Armour H5 jacket will shed both ferrous and non-ferrous molten metals. It is available in custom sizes and lengths from 30-50 inches.
An aluminized jacket’s protective performance should be exceptional without sacrificing comfort, mobility, and productivity in high-heat environments. The Carbon Armour H5 Foundry Aluminized Jacket accomplishes all this with highly protective yet flexible fabric and high tech design at an affordable price, making it one of the best aluminized jackets available for welding, mill, and foundry workers – especially those working with molten steel.
Check out our full collection of Radiant Heat and Molten Splash Protection including aluminized jackets, aluminized coats, and other protective aluminized clothing.
For additional foundry workwear and PPE ideas, check out our Best Selling Safety Equipment for High Heat Environments.
Or contact our Customer Service team for assistance with selecting the best foundry PPE and safety clothing for your facility.