Fire Retardant Treatments for Textiles

Fabric is among the materials most susceptible to fire. With appropriate fire retardant treatment, these textiles could have their chance of catching fire greatly minimized.

There are a number of items in households or offices that could be classified within the highly combustible category; they are carpets, upholstery, garments, bed sheets, and the most ubiquitous fire starter is undoubtedly the curtain, which often accompanies every home. The idea of applying fire resistant treatments to these items then is to make them become less inflammable, prevent fire from spreading easily, and ultimately save lives.

In general, almost all fabrics can be treated to become fire retardant. However take notice that some textile material like those made of 100% nylon, acetate or acrylic cannot be treated. And there have been observations that textiles that are Teflon coated may not respond optimally to this treatment. This is the reason why professional applicators of flame retardant coatings sometimes request for test samples, before any comprehensive treatment is applied.

So what goes into a fire resistant product? In a sense, chemicals; or chemicals that are effective to curtail the spreading of fire. One such product is called polymeric coupling agent, or simply a coupling agent. This is a polymer itself but it functions to fill in organic fillers to the polymer found in synthetic fabrics. These compounds can be Talc, Glass Fibers, Calcium Carbonate, or a flame retardant like ATH (Aluminum Trihydrate) or what is also known as Mg(OH)2 (magnesium hydroxide).

These fillers serve multi-pronged purposes; sometimes to bring down the production cost (as in the case of Calcium Carbonate, Talc), to add strength to the fabric (glass fibers, Calcium Carbonate) and finally to make it fire resistant (ATH, Mg(OH)2), so it won’t burn or spread as easily when comes into contact with a fire.

Generally commercial organizations and public institutions make up the largest pool of users who seek out such fire retardant applications. Thanks to better public awareness, there is now a growing trend among households in wanting to bring this protection to their houses and apartments. After all, there are a lot of household items that are fire hazardous, as mentioned earlier.

For fabric treatment, most applicators would recommend water-soluble agents. Nowadays, applicators are able to carry out the coating off-site or on-site, providing further convenience.

There is also no concern about such application leaving ugly residues or affecting the texture of the fabric. It is a tested and proven practice on a great variety of materials. If there are doubts about the materials/chemicals that go into your fabric, a quick and simple test can be easily administered by the applicator with a test sample.

You will find that your little investment in fire retardant treatment is worthwhile; not only does it act as some sort of insurance to your home, it can potentially save lives, those of your love ones and yourself.