- What is Flame Retardant Textiles?
- Natural FR fabrics
- Treated FR fabrics
- 5 ways fire retardant fabrics protect you
- Protection against fire
- Protection against electricity
- Protection against sharp objects
- Protection against welding
- Protection against molten metal
- How to take care of flame retardant textiles
- Choosing between natural fabric and fabrics with flame retardant fabric treatment
What is Flame Retardant Textiles?
These are a type of protective clothing that protects against flash fires and arc flashes. They are often made from natural fibers like cotton as it holds natural fire-retardant properties. However, the textiles are not necessarily made with cotton or natural fibers as other fibers can be treated to have FR properties. Therefore, FR fabrics contain two types; natural and treated fabrics. Both types come with their pros and cons and your choice may vary according to your needs.
Natural FR fabrics
The fire retardant fabric burn slower in comparison to other fabrics without any treatment. As they are not treated, therefore they are free from chemicals and can be used in face-covering fabrics like masks. Other fabrics can not be used if they contain any chemicals as breathing in those chemicals can be harmful. In addition, the absence of chemical coating also increases the life of the fabric even after washing it several times.
Treated FR fabrics
Unlike natural fabrics, treated fabrics do not depend upon the fabric’s natural fire retardant property. Treated fireproof fabric materials can be made from a number of fabrics through chemical processes. These are better than natural fabrics while concerning fire-retardant properties. However, these are not as long-lasting as natural fabrics. Washing them like natural fabrics can decrease their life and make them less effective against fire. Therefore, these fabrics are only used when the heat is very high as these textiles are often heavier and difficult to move in.
5 ways fire retardant fabrics protect you
Protection against fire
Fire is one of the biggest threats present in workplaces and homes around the world. Without protection, it can be nearly impossible to escape this hazard. Wearing these fabrics can be the difference between life and death. An FR fabric has the ability to withstand fire for a period of time but after that period it fails to protect. Once the fabric comes into contact with fire, it burns to form charcoal. This charcoal helps to stop the spreading of fire as it isolates the fire and lets it die out. Flame retardant fabric treatment increases the level of the flame retardant property.
Protection against electricity
Even if these fabrics have the word fire in them, it does not mean it can not protect against electricity. Most FR fabrics are good insulators, meaning they do not conduct electricity. Since electricity is one of the biggest killers in workplaces and homes.
Protection against sharp objects
These clothing contain more layers of fabrics compared to normal clothing. An example of this clothing is denim as it is tough clothing and can be comfortable to wear while not being easily cut by an object around it.
Protection against welding
FR treatment for fabrics can give them great fire-retardant properties. As the fabrics are a bad conductor of electricity, similarly they are bad conductors of heat. Sparks while welding can be dangerous but this fabric can easily protect against them.
Protection against molten metal
Melting metal is a common practice in factories, as it is required in a lot of industries. Metal melts at extreme temperatures, the temperature of molten metal is so high that if it comes in contact with a human it can burn through skin, flesh, and organs. While natural FR fabrics are weak against molten metal, treated fabrics stand a better chance.
How to take care of flame retardant textiles
Natural fabrics are easier to take care of as they don’t have any limitations while washing, however, treated fabrics are a different story. It is important to know what kind of fabric you are dealing with, make sure you read the instructions on the tags. Bleach and detergents contain chemicals that may react with the chemicals on the treated fabrics. This can make the fabric lose their FR properties and making them less efficient.
Choosing between natural fabric and fabrics with flame retardant fabric treatment
At first, it can be difficult to choose between a treated and natural fabric. However, with some knowledge about your workplace, you can easily determine what kind of fabric is best for you.
It depends upon what kind of characteristics suits your needs. Natural fabric is lighter, comfortable but is less effective under flames. On the other hand, we have treated fabrics that contain chemicals and provide better protection but these fabrics can be expensive and less comfortable to work in.
A Flame retardant textiles is meant to protect you but without knowing the risks in your workplace it is impossible to buy the right kind of fabric for you. Above all, before buying a fabric, make sure that the fabric that you buy is ISO certified as this guarantees the quality of the fabric to be the best.