What are Flame Retardant Fabrics?

What are Flame Retardant Fabrics?

Flame retardant fabrics are the distinctive type of technically designed materials that helps to avoid the spreading of fire.  Flame retardants are chemicals inserted into the polymer molecule or physically blend in the polymer fabric to inhibit and suppress the process of combustion.

The flame retardant chemicals interfere with the burning of the fabric at various stages, such as –

  • During heating
  • Decomposition
  • Ignition of flame spread

Benefits of using Flame retardant fabrics

Most fire accidents occur due to the burning of fabrics. The cellulosic component in the fabric is more prone to inflammation. Another factor that causes the cloth to catch fire is the weight and the weave of the material. For instance, the loosely woven fabric tends to catch fire faster, and the heavy and tightly weaved cloth burn slowly.

Types of Flame Retardants:

  • Brominated flame retardants
  • Chlorinated flame retardants
  • Inorganic flame retardants.
  • Nitrogen-containing flame retardants
  • Phosphorous-containing flame retardants

Method of making the flame retardant fabrics

There are two ways of making the fabric fire-resistant

Coating technique

For materials such as upholstery fabrics, a fire retardant back coating is applied to the fabric to make it resistant to fire.

Chemical dipping technique

Fabric made from natural fibres is dipped into a chemical solution to make a barrier between the fibre and the flame. This makes the fabric fire-resistant.

Use of Fire Retardant fabric

A fire-retardant fabric protects the users to suppress and inhibits the spreading of fires. Fire retardant fabrics are used for various purposes. Listed are some of the important areas where these fabrics are most commonly used

  • An industrial worker wears uniforms for firefighters suits military pilots, the war-combat dress needs protection from the fire. Hence the fire retardant fabrics are used to make these dresses.
  • Fire retardant fabrics are especially used to resist extremely high temperatures in a warehouse that are prone to cause fire, such as electrical equipment manufacturing facilities, chemical industry, match stick factories and more. Wide width fabric is generallyfire-resistant materials that are perfect for making apparel for industry workers.
  • Tents and parachutes are also made using fire retardant fabric materials.
  • The curtains and carpets in high traffic areas such as hotels, hospitals, and theatres are also made of fire retardant cloth
  • Fire retardant fabrics are also used in furniture covers. These days leatherette fabric is also used in upholstery work. These are less inflammable compared to other fabric materials. These are the Supple Synthetic Leather that gives the impression of real leather and is the perfect choice for decorative material for your home.
  • Flame retardants fabrics save lives. It helps to escape the dangerous situation, protect property and are a lifesaver as it helps to prevent fires from starting and spreading.

Some to facts to know –

  • Did you know that wool is the natural fibre that is fire retardant. It does not get ignited quickly. It even extinguishes the smaller flames on its own and prevents the spread of the fire instantly.
  • Another natural fire retardant is silk that tends to burn slowly. It is difficult to burn silk fabric.