Understanding Glove Nerds: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia
Spend too much time around any fan group — Whovians, Trekkies or Bronies — and you’ll quickly realize you’re out of your element. Trivia and terminology are spit out at lightning speed and it sounds like they’ve invented their own language.
Glove nerds are no different.
Get a group of us together and suddenly we’re drooling over grams to cut and bragging about strength-to-weight ratios.
While we can’t help you understand what Bronies mean by “Brohoof,” we can shed some light on common terminology used by glovers (the just-now-made-up name for glove lovers) in this comprehensive encyclopedia for understanding glove nerds.
This is the term used when referring to the palm of the glove wearing out. Gloves with higher levels of abrasion resistance generally have a longer lifespan. A glove’s abrasion-resistant properties can be tested using a Taber machine. The test involves physically rubbing the palm of the glove with a rotary wheel. The number of cycles it takes to wear through the palm of the glove determines its level of abrasion resistance.
A Taber machine used to measure abrasion resistance.
ANSI is the abbreviation for the American National Standards Institute. ANSI is the systems of standards and conformity in North America that implements the guidelines used for businesses in every industry. In the world of hand safety, ANSI oversees the standards that are used for rating the protection of a glove or sleeve. This includes cut, puncture, heat, and abrasion.
Anti-impact gloves feature a padding on the back of the hand and fingers to prevent metacarpal injuries, as pictured below on the 378GKGVB. Anti-impact gloves are popular in industries like automotive and oil & gas, where knocks and bumps to the back of the hand are constant hazards.
Similar to ESD gloves. See electrostatic dissipative for more information.
Often confused with anti-impact, anti-vibration gloves feature the padding on the palm of the hand, rather than the back.
These gloves are specially designed to protect the worker from excess vibration from pneumatic tools. The vibration-dampening padding can come from gel or chloroprene. Anti-vibration gloves are beneficial for eliminating the risks of Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome or similar ailments.
The American Section of the International Association for Testing Materials (ASTM) develops technical standards for gloves. These standards are adopted by bodies, like ANSI, and used to determine the protective value of a glove or sleeve. For instance: cut resistance (ASTM F2992), fine-object puncture resistance (ASTM F2878), abrasion resistance (ASTM D3389).
Arc Boundary Zones:
Arc Boundary Zones are designed to protect employees working around energized equipment in the event of an arc flash. The four boundaries have specific requirements for employees in terms of the PPE that must be worn and the level of training the employee must possess to be in those boundaries. Learn more here.
Arc flash is an electrical explosion occurring on energized equipment.
It happens like this: When electrons move back and forth across a conductor, a small area outside of that conductor is energized. Voltage can push those electrons off the wire and onto atoms in the air. These atoms become ions because they have an electrical charge. If another conductor gets inside this energized area, the ions will travel through the new path creating an arc flash. Learn more about arc flash in our post The No-BS Approach to Arc Flash.
Breakthrough time is the number of minutes it takes for a gloved hand from coming into contact with a chemical until the chemical has broken through the glove and is in contact with your skin.
Carbon fiber has a number of benefits in gloves. It withstands prolonged exposure to direct flame and will not burn, char or harden. It also has anti-static properties.
A CE rating, sometimes called CE marking, is a mandatory conformity marking that must be present for any product to be legally sold in the European Economic Area. If a glove doesn’t have the icon below, it cannot be sold in the EEA.
A controlled environment that keeps the level of pollutants, like dust and airborne microbes, to a minimum. Cleanrooms are classified according to the number and size of particles permitted per volume of air. Cleanrooms are used to wash and package gloves that are destined for pharmaceutical use, electronic assembly and automotive plaint lines.
The clute cut pattern is designed to keep the palm free of stitching. On the palm side, the palm and all four fingers are cut from one piece of leather. On the back side, each finger is a separate piece of leather.
Another name for an engineered yarn.
The Coup Test is used to determine a glove or sleeve’s cut resistance under the EN 388 standard. This test uses a rotating blade, under a fixed load of 500 grams, moving back and forth across the material until it cuts through. For accuracy, the test material will be compared to a cloth reference material. The test is performed five times, alternating between the test and reference materials. A number between 1 and 5 is given to the glove based on the results.
Not a term that is used in the safety industry… no glove is cut proof. See cut resistance for more information.
Cut resistance refers to a glove or sleeve’s ability to withstand cuts from sharp objects. Hand protection can be rated under two different standards — ANSI and EN 388.
Degradation refers to the change in physical properties of protective clothing due to contact with a chemical or through washing, exposure to sunlight, or loss in tensile strength.
Dyneema® is the brand name for ultra-high-weight-molecular-polyethylene developed by Dutch technology company DSM. Dyneema® is renowned for its lightweight, high cut-resistant properties.
Dyneema® does not absorb liquid making it the preferred material for safety gloves in hot, humid climates.
See how Dyneema® stands up to competitor Kevlar® in our blog Dyneema® Vs. Kevlar®: The Ultimate Showdown.
An engineered yarn uses two (or more) components with a core reinforcement like steel that is wrapped with a yarn like Kevlar® or TenActiv™. This makes your glove stronger — like adding rebar to concrete — and increases its cut resistance. Learn more about engineered yarns here.
Known formally as the European Standards for Protective Gloves, EN 388 is the European equivalent of the American National Standards Institute (see ANSI for more information). The standard rates a glove on its protective value for categories like abrasion, cut resistance, tear resistance and puncture resistance.
Electrostatic Dissipation (ESD):
ESD is generally associated with electrostatic discharge, or the sudden flow of electricity between two electrically charged objects caused by contact, or a shortage/breakdown. A glove with electrostatic dissipation properties means that it is somewhat conductive. It slowly conducts static charge away from components that could be affected by static, like circuit boards.
See gunn cut for more information.
Flame-Resistant (FR) Fabrics:
Flame-resistant fabrics are designed to resist burning, withstand heat and self-extinguish. To learn more in-depth about the difference between inherent and treated flame-resistant materials, read this blog.
Foam nitrile is nitrile in its liquid form that has been whipped. Foam nitrile has excellent properties in wet conditions because it acts like a sponge, absorbing the liquids to keep the palm coating dry and maintaining grip.
A full coating covers the front and back of the glove. This is best for jobs that require immersion into liquids or chemicals.
A gauge refers to the thickness of yarn used in the composition of a knitted glove. To determine a glove’s gauge, count the number of threads in one inch of glove. Watch this explanationwith glove expert, Robert Gheesling for more information on the different gauges.
Gauntlet cuffs are most commonly found on welding and chemical gloves. The cuffs are 4 1/2 inches long and provides extra forearm protection.
Glove Review Program:
A Superior Glove exclusive where one of our glovers will visit your workplace and work with you to review the current gloves your team is wearing, identify the ones you hate, and provide solutions — without any obligation to buy or cost to participate.
Grams to Cut:
Grams to cut is a shortening of the phrase “grams of weight needed to cut through a material.” The grams of weight are determined by the physical weights added to the TDM-100 (see Tomodynamometer entry for more information) to apply more force to the blade. The grams to cut correlates to the nine cut levels.
The gunn cut is most commonly used on fitter gloves. This pattern uses one piece of leather for the palm, index and pinky fingers and a second piece for the middle and ring fingers. On the back side of a gunn cut pattern, the entire back — including all four fingers — is cut from one piece of leather.
High Performance Polyethylene is another name for Ultra-high-molecular-weight-polyethylene, brand names include Dyneema® and TenActiv™. See UHWMPE for more information.
Kevlar® is the brand name of para-aramid synthetic fiber. The fiber was first developed by Dupont™ scientist Stephanie Kwolek in 1965. It was originally designed to replace steel in racing tires.
But, over time it was realized that Kevlar® had other incredible properties besides its high tensile strength. Most notably was its ability to stop bullets. Only slightly less notable is its incredible cut-resistant properties.
See how Kevlar® stands up to competitor Dyneema® in our blog Dyneema® Vs. Kevlar®: The Ultimate Showdown
This nitrile solution has been specially treated to create millions of tiny pores within the coating. These pores give the glove wearer a better grip than regular nitrile or foam nitrile coatings.
Nitrile is a common alternative to latex because it’s a synthetic product and does not cause allergic reactions. Nitrile has excellent abrasion and puncture-resistant properties. Learn more about nitrile in our Ultimate Guide to Nitrile Gloves.
Like the name suggests, this coating only covers the palm of the glove. The palm coating are most commonly made from nitrile, polyurethane, latex, or PVC. Palm coatings add puncture and abrasion resistance and improve wet and dry grip.
Para-aramid is a class of aramid that is favored for its high tensile strength. Para-aramids, like Kevlar®, are used in gloves because of its excellent cut resistance.
Polyurethane is a favorite for electricians and those working with circuit boards because it’s non-shedding and is considered ‘grippy.’ Polyurethane-coated gloves have a high tactile feel but the trade-off means less abrasion and puncture resistance.
Reinforced Thumb Crotch:
The thumb crotch is the area between your thumb and forefinger. This is one of the highest wear areas for a glove. A reinforced thumb crotch will have added material — leather, nitrile or Kevlar® stitching — to increase the glove’s lifespan. See gloves with reinforced thumb crotches here.
A safety cuff is 2 1/2 inches long and is designed to be removed quickly in case of emergency.
The sample program is a free and easy way to help you find the gloves that are right for your organization. Pairs well with our review program.
STAYz-UP™ is the most efficient way to keep your protective sleeves from slipping down your arm. Instead of using hook and loop closures or clips that attach to your shirt, STAYz-UP™ is an elasticized armband that lightly rests around your bicep, providing a snug, comfortable fit.
Strength-to-weight ratio is a fiber’s tensile strength divided by its body weight. Kevlar® and Dyneema® have similar tensile strengths (3620 mPa and 3600 mPa respectively). But because Dyneema® has a much lighter density than Kevlar® (0.97 compared to 1.44), it has a higher strength-to-weight ratio.
TenActiv™ is a brand name of ultra-high-weight-molecular-polyethylene. See UHWMPE for more information.
Thermoplastic Rubber (TPR):
TPR is the abbreviation for thermoplastic rubber and it’s used to provide protection from impact to your knuckles and the back of your hand. This rubber is specially molded to conform to the curves in your hands and fingers. Learn more about TPR here.
The thumb hole is used on protective sleeves as a way to prevent the sleeve from slipping when a worker reaches up. Without a thumb hole, the sleeve can slide down, leaving the wrist vulnerable to cuts and lacerations.
The Tomodynamometer is the machine used to measure cut resistance under ANSI/ISEA 105 guidelines. The goal of this test is to measure how much force is needed to cut through a fabric. This is determined thanks to a conductive strip, when the blade touches the strip, the test terminates.
The TDM-100 cut test steps:
- The glove sample is placed on a conductive strip and loaded onto the TDM-100.
- A straight blade is loaded into the machine.
- Weight is added to serve as force.
- The blade moves across the fabric.
- The blade is replaced with a new one to ensure accuracy.
- The sample is cut five times, each with three different loads.
- The distance traveled to cause cut through at various forces is recorded.
- The data is used to determine the grams to cut and a cut level of 1 through 9 is awarded.
A three-quarter palm coating is a coating that covers approximately three-quarters of the glove. It means that the palm will be fully coated and part of the back, towards the knuckle, will have a coating as well. This can be beneficial for messier jobs that need more coverage.
Ultra-high-molecular-weight-polyethylene (UHWMPE) is a yarn used to knit gloves. UHWMPE is desirable for its light weight and high cut-resistant properties. UHWMPE is also liked for its comfort and low moisture absorption. UHWMPE is called HPPE and brand names include Dyneema® and TenActiv™.
Gloves and sleeves that are treated with Ultra-Fresh achieve 99.9% antimicrobial status that does not wash away when laundered.
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