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Test #02-011, Appraisal of Escape Trunk Anti-Slip Grips



TEST NUMBER: 02-011 DATE: 30 May 2002
TEST TITLE: Appraisal of Escape Trunk Anti-slip Grips
OBJECTIVE / Test set-up criteria: The objective of this test is to determine which product would reduce the most slippery conditions when wet or oily in a escape trunk.
DESCRIPTION OF EQUIPMENT: Product one is an adhesive sheet of rubberized material made by 3M Company. The second product is thick rubber tubing used on civilian fire truck ladders and is held in place by special clips.
The two products were attached to a simulate ladder (or escape trunk) condition. The products were then tested for hand or foot slippery condition in a dry or wet environment. Water and oil was pour over the products to obtain a slippery environment. The second part of this evaluation of these material was to do a quick fire resistant test. The two materials were attached to a test pipe and were lit on fire with a propane torch for 20 seconds. The result were then recorded
RESULTS: See enclosure 1 for a complete description.
EVALUATION: 3M Anti-slip grip & rubber tubing on civilian fire truck ladders
Dexter Vance, Oak
Creig Beck, NSWCCD
EQUIPMENT NAME: Greptile sheet # G400
If the 3M material is used in an escape trunk two strips could be applied in 6” or 8” lengths (the longer 8” strips might provide better wear over a period) on each rung, approximately 21” apart.
If the rubber tubing is used in the escape trunks it should be applied using 6” strips on alternating rungs, approximately 24” apart to reduce the combustible material.

Enclosure 1

Navy Damage Control Shipboard Application Appraisal of Escape Trunk Anti-slip Grips

An appraisal of two different materials was conducted at the Damage Control and Engineering Training Facility, Baltimore, MD. that are under consideration for anti-slip grips.

During the USS COLE incident, it was stated that personnel were required to transit up and down the escape trunks of partially flooded compartments. While ascending up and down the ladder rungs, made of stainless steel bar stock, they were slippery and difficult to hold onto and maintain footing due to water and oil from the flooded spaces being present.

NAVSEA, has contacted several manufacturers in regards to the stainless steel bars in order to find a material that can be easily applied to the bars that will reduce the slippery conditions when wet and offer a better grip when oils are present.

One product is the Greptile sheet, manufactured by the 3M company, part G400. This is an adhesive sheet of rubberized material that can be cut to the desired length.

Image showing installed Greptile sheets

The second product is thick rubber tubing that is applied to civilian fire truck ladders. The rubber tubing is split down the bottom for ease of application and held in place with special clips. The grooved tubing can be cut to length.

Image showing installed rubber tubing

The escape trunk appraisal was performed in 4 areas: normal use, wet application, wet and oily conditions, and a single flame burn appraisal. Appraisal performance was graded in a descending performance of: Excellent, Good, Fair, & Poor

  1. Application:
    Material Length Cutting (scissors) Application
    Greptile 6” X 3 ½” strips Fair: Precise measurements required to prevent overlap. Fair: Precise application to prevent bubbles and overlap. No adjustment.
    Tubing Excellent: No problem noted Excellent: No problem noted, adjustable.
  2. Grip (dry):
    Material Hand, bare Boots & Firefighting boots Comments
    Greptile Good Good Improved feel over uncovered bar
    Tubing Good Excellent Improved grip over uncovered bar, excellent footing
  3. Grip (wet):
    Material Hand, Bare Hand, Gloved Boots & F/F boots Comments
    Greptile Good Good Fair Rubber F/F boots did not grip as well
    Tubing Fair Excellent Good F/F boots maintained grip
  4. Grip (wet and oily):
    Material Hand, Bare Hand, Gloved Boots & F/F boots Comments
    Greptile Fair Good Poor F/F boots slipped
    Tubing Poor Good Good Bare hands was comparable to the uncovered bar
  5. Single flame burn appraisal: (propane torch)
    Material 10 Seconds 20 Seconds Continued burn? Comments
    Greptile Burning of material Burning of material No, flame extinguished after torch removed Little smoke
    Tubing Burning of material Burning of material with fire spread Yes, burned for 4 minutes Thick black smoke

    1. Greptile 10 seconds
    Image showing Greptile 10 seconds
    2. Greptile 20 seconds
    Image showing Greptile 20 seconds
    3. Greptile Final
    Image showing Greptile Final
    A. Rubber tubing 10 seconds
    Image showing Rubber tubing 10 seconds
    B. Tubing 20 Seconds
    Image showing  Tubing 20 seconds
    C. Tubing after flame removed
    Image showing Tubing after flame removed
    D. Tubing 2 minutes
    Image showing Tubing 2 minutes
    E. Tubing melts and drops
    Image showing Tubing melts and drops
    F. 4 minutes, fire goes out
    Image showing 4 minutes, fire goes out

    Final comments:

    The two materials appraised presented mixed results for each one. However, both added an improvement over the bare stainless steel rungs in both hands and boots.

    While the Greptile material had good dry grip for hands, F/F boots and footing were not as good, especially when water and oil are present. Since application will be predominately inside a main machinery space escape trunk, the occurrence of fire for machinery spaces is considerably higher due to the heat and fuel present. While the Ellison door that separates the escape trunk from the engineering space is fume tight and fire resistant to prevent fire conduction inside the trunk, adding combustible material should be limited. Keeping in mind that the machinery spaces have installed fire-extinguishing agents (HALON and AFFF) that reduce the fire spread possibilities to the escape trunk, the trunks themselves have no installed extinguishing agents. Greptile material performed better in the fire appraisal but showed less grip for F/F boots that are worn by Ship’s force for entry into the space. The highest concern over the Greptile material is a possible wear problem from everyday use by wachstanders and during drills. The material is very thin and composed of a soft material that may not stand up to everyday use. If used in an escape trunk two strips could be applied in 6” or 8” lengths (the longer 8” strips might provide better wear over a period of time) on each rung, approximately 21” apart.

    The rubber tubing had excellent properties for every appraisal except during the water & oil use with bare hands and during the fire appraisal. The biggest concern was the fire appraisal (E.) where the material broke up during the burning and dropped hot burning rubber. If a fire inside the escape trunk occurred, the rubber tread would present a problem to the evacuating crewmembers and hamper their escape by not only burning but producing thick black smoke and could drop hot burning rubber on them as they ascended. This would probably only occur if exposed to direct flame, however, inside the escape trunk the Ellison door is opened during evacuation of personnel and entry of firefighting teams to combat the fire. During these periods the material may ignite after prolonged exposure to flame. If used in the escape trunks it should be applied using 6” strips on alternating rungs, approximately 24” apart to reduce the combustible material. During the water & oil test the rubber material performed exceptional with boots and with gloved hands, it was only bare hands that caused concern. Firefighting teams that need additional footing and handhold would find the rubber material superior over the bare rungs.

    NOTE: After appraisal of the rubber material, the manufacturer recommended using a newer material that self-extinguishes after flame removal. NAVSEA will perform a new appraisal of this material prior to any application of fleet ships. For updates and findings of this and future appraisals, please check the NAVSEA Damage Control website periodically.