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Navy Clothing and Textile Research Facility

Laboratory Information:

Navy Clothing and Textile Research Facility
15 Kansas St.
NCTRF/Building 86
Natick, MA 01760-5015
Agency/Department: Dept. of Defense - Navy
Region: Northeast

FLC Laboratory Representative:

Cleveland A. Heath
Phone: 508-233-1305
Fax: (508) 233-4783

Background/History of the Laboratory:

The Navy Clothing and Textile Research Facility (NCTRF), located in Natick, MA, is a government owned and operated laboratory that provides the US Navy Sailor with advanced technological solutions to their clothing and equipment needs. NCTRF’s team of textile technologists, clothing designers, scientists and engineers design and develop dress uniforms, working uniforms, and protective clothing worn by Navy personnel.  The team conducts research, development, test and evaluation, and engineering support of materials and clothing systems to provide the Sailor with advanced ensembles that protect against threats such as fire and steam, heat and cold stress, ballistic impact, water immersion, and chemical agents.  NCTRF also provides technical support to the Defense Logistics Agency – Troop Support and the Navy Exchange Command throughout the procurement process and the life cycle of clothing and textile items.

 NCTRF employs 32 civilians as part of the Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) and is co-located at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier System Center, 20 miles west of Boston.  In addition to NAVSUP, NCTRF conducts uniform and protective clothing RDT&E for other Navy Commands, other military services, and other government agencies.

Mission of the Laboratory:

To maximize the Quality of Life for Navy Sailors through uniform and protective clothing development and sustainment.


NCTRF’s Clothing and Armor Design Laboratory is fully equipped with Computer Aided Design (CAD) tools and state of the art industrial sewing equipment.  Extensive fiber and material testing and analysis is conducted In the Textile Performance Laboratory, including durability, breathability, color measurement and retention, soil release, cut resistance, and water repellency.  The effects of thermal energy, such as heat, direct flame, and steam, are also evaluated to predict potential burn injury.  In the Biophysical Laboratory, NCTRF scientists and engineers conduct evaluations utilizing instrumented manikins within controlled climatic chambers to evaluate materials, garments, footwear, gloves and mittens, helmets, personal heating or cooling systems, and sleeping bags to predict performance in a variety of work/clothing/environment scenarios.  Studies to determine the effects of water immersion in both standing and moving water are conducted in the unique Hydro-Environmental Chamber with Wave Generator.

Technology Transfer Mechanisms:

  • Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs)
  • Facility Sharing
  • Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR)
  • Technical Assistance
  • Work For Others

Technology Areas of Expertise:

  • Color Measurement of Textile Materials
  • Computer Aided Design
  • Flame/Thermal Assessment (Bench Top and Full Scale)
  • Heat and Cold Stress Assessment in Air and Water Immersion Scenarios, utilizing Instrumented Manikins (Full Body, Head, Hand, or Foot)
  • Textile Performance Evaluation and Analysis
  • Uniform and Protective Clothing RDT&E