The special material in question that is used in protective gloves is a special polymer called Nomex. Nomex gloves are a registered trademark for flame resistant meta-aramid material developed in the early 1960s by DuPont and first marketed in 1967. Nomex and related aramid polymers are related to nylon, but have aromatic backbones, and hence are more rigid and more durable. Nomex is the premier example of a meta variant of the aramids. Nomex gloves are heat-resistant, flame-resistant and also offer protection against chemical products and are ideal to protect against flames, electric arch and extreme temperatures. Nomex gloves maintain body temperature at comfortable levels, will not burn or melt in contact with flames, thus avoiding burn injuries to the hand. Nomex gloves are thermally stable and therefore preserve the dimensions of the glove. To sum up, Nomex gloves have excellent thermal, chemical, and radiation resistance.
The application of Nomex and related Nomex gloves are found in almost all professional and military endeavour. Race car drivers wear driving suits constructed of Nomex and or other fire retardant materials, along with Nomex gloves, balaclavas, socks, and shoes to protect them in the event of a fire. However, the most useful application of Nomex lies in manufacturing of Firefighter’s Gloves. Firefighter’s Gloves are needed to process and withstand intense amount of heat, and for that reason, it comprises Nomex. To preserve Firefighting gloves’s dexterity, sometimes Thermolite is also used as a material.
Another application of Nomex gloves is in the manufacturing of Military gloves. It is not only need to withstand large amount of heat, but also must be able to protect the wearer’s hand in all extreme weather conditions. Hence, Military gloves comprises of 92% Nomex, with an extra 5% Kevlar fiber (cut resistance) and 3% P140 anti-static fiber (for safety around fuels, explosives and electronics). Almost all Military gloves have high EN 388 standards to preserve top quality and withstand hazards. It may also comprise Teflon for durability and Softshell for dexterity.
Hence, to conclude, we can say that gloves are made from various types of materials such as latex, cloth, knitted or felted wool, leather, rubber, neoprene, and metal. However, for specialized gloves such as firefighter’s gloves or military gloves, we use Nomex as a primary material. A nice catalogue of these specialized gloves can be found in http://www.tsgloves.com/.