Flame-resistant (FR) clothing is made from fabrics that are inherently resistant to catching fire, continue to burn after being ignited, or self-extinguish once the source of ignition is removed.
Here are some common types of materials used in the production of FR clothing:
- Nomex: This is a meta-aramid material created by DuPont. It’s inherently flame-resistant, which means it doesn’t require any additional treatment to provide protection from flames. Nomex is used in a variety of applications, including firefighter uniforms, race car driver suits, and certain types of industrial clothing.
- Indura and UltraSoft: These are cotton fabrics treated with a flame-retardant chemical. They were developed by Westex and are popular for their comfort and breathability. Indura is a 100% cotton fabric, while UltraSoft is a blend of 88% cotton and 12% high-tenacity nylon for added durability.
- Kevlar: Another DuPont invention, Kevlar is a para-aramid synthetic fiber with high strength, temperature stability, and flame resistance. It’s often used in combination with other FR materials to add strength and durability.
- Modacrylic: This is a synthetic copolymer that is inherently flame-resistant. Modacrylic fabrics are often used in combination with other types of fibers, such as cotton or rayon, to create comfortable, flame-resistant clothing.
- Carbon Fiber (PANOX): These fibers are inherently flame-resistant, and are often combined with other fibers to create FR fabrics. They are also used in the production of heat and cut resistant gloves.
- Protex: This is an inherently flame-resistant fiber designed for use in protective clothing. It was developed by Kaneka Corporation. It’s often used in combination with other types of fibers.
Each of these fabrics has its own advantages and disadvantages in terms of comfort, durability, and level of protection, and the choice often depends on the specific needs of the job.
Always choose FR clothing that meets the specific safety requirements of your industry and job role, and follow the manufacturer’s care instructions to maintain flame-resistant properties.
Remember, the use of these materials does not make the clothing fireproof. The purpose of FR clothing is to reduce the risk of severe burn injuries, not to completely eliminate the possibility of burns.