What Is A Flame Retardant Fabric?

Hazardous environments that face fire-related accidents daily are safer for workers thanks to these fabrics. How do they protect against fire? Firstly, the fabrics are not necessarily made from inherently fireproof material. Secondly, chemical treatment gives this fabric its characteristic properties. Furthermore, any type of fabric works well to create these types of fabric; however, in order to call a fabric, fire retardant fabric it must undergo the chemical treatment.

Consequently, the fabric gains self-extinguishing and slow-burning behavior. As a result of which the fabric is able to withstand flames if any fire hazard breaks out. However, this terminology applies only to organic materials as the name clarifies the purpose of the fabric, as it does not mean the fabric will not catch fire, rather it refers to the property of the flame retardant cloth to slow down the speed at which the fabric burns. Even if the fabric catches fire, the fire will die out on itself due to the self-extinguishing nature of the fabric. This does not mean in any way that wearing the fabric makes you indestructible and after a few seconds under constant flames, the fabric does give in. It is important to be careful and not just rely on the fabric itself.

flame retardant fabric

What Is A Flame-Resistant Fabric?

It is a type of garment made from fabrics that are naturally resistant to fire. These fabrics do not need any chemical coating to make them nonflammable. In case even if the fabric catches flames, the fibers burn and start to carbonize. When a fiber or compound carbonizes, it turns into charcoal and the charcoal helps to prevent the spread of fire and slowly extinguishes the flame. This property of the Flame retardant textiles allows it to act perfectly against fire in emergencies. However, if the fabric burning occurs constantly under a flame, the fabric will not be able to withstand it after a short period of time. Similar to other organic matter, these fabrics decompose after a given amount of combustion.

Defensive textiles have been widely used in clothes, curtains, and assorted furnishings; as progression in technology takes place, the use of these fabrics increases. Using fire retardant cloth commonly in everyday life has made life safer while maintaining comfort. In the industrial unit and occupations such as firefighting, the use of these fabrics is mandatory. Firefighters wear these fabrics from the inside to protect their skin from burning when they barge into burning buildings and homes. In addition to that the wear exterior protection as well because they often face higher temperatures and fire is not their only concern as just the heat from the flames is enough to harm them.

Treated Flame Retardant Cloth  

These materials give exceptional protection against fire, heat, and molten metal. Other fabrics lack the strength these fabrics have and manufacturing of treated materials is cheaper as any type of fabric as treating it gives it an FR property unlike inherent fabrics that are naturally fire-resistant, however, they are expensive unlike these. Although this fire retardant fabric has very little longevity and toughness, washing these fabrics can dull the FR qualities of the fabric. Furthermore, the heavy quality of the cloth makes handled materials less comfortable.

Finally, when looking at a different form of fabric and fibers, the preference of FR for a piece of fabric is made individually at the end of the day as each fabric holds its value. Knowing the environment where the fabrics are going to function and using them daily or not will determine what kind of flame retardant cloth is suitable for you. For instance, wearing treated fabrics is useful when the duration of the task is shorter as these fabrics are tough to move around in and can be uncomfortable. The short duration will decrease the chance of the fabric getting dirty and washing of the fabric will not occur.

flame retardant fabric

Inherent Flame-Resistant Fabric  

These are useful against heat and fire as they are thick and require a lot of energy to burn. Moreover, even after repeated washes, these fabrics do not dim in color because the nature of the fabrics used is more dye absorbing. Being light and comfortable makes these fabric a better choice compared to treated fabric, and this property allows the worker to wear them for a longer period of time. These textiles are also lighter and more secure to work around in as fire-resistant fabric help avoid getting caught in objects. In addition, these textiles are stylish and give the workplace a more professional feel. 

These fabrics, however, have minimal protection from high temperature, molten metal, for example; it is hard to protect against while using these fabrics because the thin structure cannot withstand the heat energy transferred by the molten metal on to the fabric and it falls apart. Inherent flame retardant fabric does not have any chemical coating so it has a longer lifespan as the fabric will not lose its FR properties after getting washed again and again.


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