The need to develop combined performance fabrics for protective clothing has existed for many years. The combinations of chemical barrier with comfort or chemical barrier with flame resistance have been pursued by many companies. Attempts have been made to place existing products into new performance areas with limited success.
Traditional film-based chemical protective clothing, first developed and introduced in the mid 1980s, provided a high level chemical permeation barrier but offered no comfort. In addition, because they were based on polyolefin composites would melt and burn when exposed to extreme heat and/or flame.
Metalized films combined with fire resistant or fire retardant fabric substrates have been used for flame and thermal protection for many years. These garments have been used in combination with other garments to protect against intense heat encountered in close proximity such as firefighting, kilns and smelters, and other situations. These garments have also been used as over-garments for chemical suits that burn and melt; however, users found these combinations bulky, cumbersome and more expensive.