25 Sep Fire Protective Textiles: The Basics
Next to paper, fabric is probably the most flammable material there is. Yet, with the right treatment, any knitted, woven or non-woven fabric can take on flame retardant qualities of almost sci-fi proportions.
Finlam produces a variety of fire protective textiles and we make them in a few different ways, employing one or more of the several fire-retardant standards out there. Which method we use depends on the client’s requirements: Among other considerations, which fabric is being used and what is it being used for? Another question to consider is, do you want flame retardant or fire resistant? As we have pointed out before, there is an important difference between the two. So how do we turn cloth kindling into a virtual shield that can withstand almost any heat level? We’re about to answer that burning question.
Although we work with the client to tailor something that is uniquely suited to their needs, we do have two standard products in this regard…
Aramid Class Fire Retardant Textile
Aramid fibres (aromatic polyamides) are incredibly tough synthetics that have high strength-to-weight ratios and are extremely resistant to heat and open flame. The fibres are created by taking a liquid chemical compound, known as a polymer, and spinning it into a solid fibre. The resulting material has an extremely high melting point (usually around 500⁰C or more) and is incredibly strong.
This fibre can then be made into protective clothing or drapery with powerful anti-flame properties. We reinforce these qualities by laminating the fabric to a PTFE membrane that adds even more strength and creates an impenetrable moisture barrier.
Polyester Class Fire Retardant Textiles
This is a more economical choice. The base polyester fibres don’t have the innate fire retardant qualities of their aramid counterpart, but we achieve this by treating the fabric with a flame resistant polyurethane coating. This is often reinforced by laminating the final product to a strong PTFE membrane, creating a fabric that is doubly flame retardant and has a built-in moisture barrier.
These two fire retardant classes form the basis of our product range for clients in the military and fire fighting industries, among others. With variations and additions on these bases, we can make FR materials for a wide variety of uses. Contact us to discuss your requirements and we will formulate the right anti-flame solution for you.