If you’ve heard about the term flame-resistant fabric clothing, you’ll probably be thinking that they’re fabrics that won’t let fire pass through them, but this isn’t the case, and flame-resistant garments are a little more complicated than that.
It is important to understand what flame-resistant fabrics are, what flame-resistant fibers are, and what their types are. Knowledge regarding these fabrics and fibers is vital for fire safety.
Flame Resistant Fabrics
Fabric is a combination of fibers combined with other pieces of fabric to make a garment or a piece of clothing. You can say that fabric is manufactured from fiber to garment. Flame-resistant fabrics are treated fabrics with a flame retardant chemical added to them to give them fire-resistant qualities. Fibers used in these fabrics aren’t naturally protective against flames. They turn into flame-resistant fabrics due to the addition of flame-retardant chemicals.
These fabrics often have 100% cotton fibers or are sometimes a combination of nylon and cotton. Regarding durability, fabrics made of cotton fibers provide less resistance to abrasion. Fabrics that have the combination of nylon with cotton have better resistance to abrasion. Flame-resistant treated fabrics work well in gas, oil, utility, chemicals, and petrochemical applications.
Treated fabrics should be cared for greatly, so their usage is longer and more effective against flames. To wash these fabrics, place them in water with a hardness of 1.5 grains (25ppm) or fewer. Water with less hardness is even better because hard water has mineral salts that may leave deposits on the fabric. These deposits have a chance of decreasing the fire-resistant capabilities of the fabric. Deposits can also be used as fuel if the flame-resistant clothing is exposed to fire.
What Is Treated Fiber?
Treated fibers have a fire retardant chemical applied to their fiber-forming process. This makes these fibers resistant to flames. Fabrics made with these types of fibers are fire resistant, and their resistant abilities don’t lessen when you wash them or wear them roughly. Flame-resistant fabrics made with these fibers would lose their protective qualities only when damaged or soiled too much to the point that the soil can’t come off.
An example of such a type of fiber is a combination of cotton and modacrylic fibers. Fabrics composed of these fibers are comfortable and soft and feel like cotton. The modacrylic fiber added to it has soft and durable qualities. It also has resistance against solvents and chemicals. This makes these types of fibers very efficient in flame-resistant environments such as jobs where you need effective flame-resistant clothing.
What Are Inherent Fibers And Fabrics?
For inherent fibers and fabrics, there is no need to add chemicals to them. These fabrics are naturally resistant to fire as they’re woven from naturally fire-resistant fibers. These fabrics will remain resistant to flames for a lifetime, and there is no need for further altering them through the use of chemicals.
Modacrylic fibers are the most famous and commonly used flame-resistant fibers. These types of fibers are often combined with other inherent flame-resistant fibers. These modacrylic fibers usually get mixed with varying percentages of para-aramid, lyocell, or polyamide-imide fibers. These fiber blends make strong fabrics capable of resisting considerable amounts of damage.
What Fabric is Naturally Fire Resistant?
Besides modacrylic fibers, other naturally fire-resistant fabrics are silk, nylon, polyester, and cotton. These fabrics are naturally flame resistant because of the structure of their fibers and how they are woven. Because of their natural resistance, these fabrics do not have to be treated with flame-retardant chemicals. These are inherent fabrics. It is hard to burn all these fabrics, and they catch fire very slowly compared to other types of fabrics.
Another famous naturally fire-resistant fabric is Nomex. Nomex comes as a standalone fiber when it comes to clothing applications. It also comes as a blend with kevlar.
What Fabric Can Withstand High Temperatures?
Fabrics that are used for industrial purposes such as silica, wool, and kevlar can withstand very high temperatures. Besides wool, fabrics such as silica and kevlar aren’t normally used in homes for fire-resistant purposes. The use of these fabrics is mainly limited to industrial work. Silicone, neoprene, refractory, and ceramic are some fabrics often used in homes.
Flame-resistant fabrics help a lot against fire-related hazards and offer great protection. These fabrics are especially necessary if you’re an individual that regularly works near fire and heat. Safety is of utmost importance, where fire hazards are common, and FR fabrics ensure you’re always safe.