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How does Flame resistant fabric protect you?

How does Flame resistant fabric protect you?

What is Flame-resistant fabric?

Flame-resistant fabrics or FR fabrics are made to be worn by workers that work in industries as a defensive shield against the hazards that occur in their workplaces such as hot or molten metal, flash fires or arc flashes and dust explosions. Fabrics are most likely to catch fire in these hazards but in case of Flame-resistant fabrics, the fabrics have self-extinguishing properties and stop burning after the fabric are out of the fire source and further stop more ignitions without melting and harming the person wearing it.

FR fabrics can be used with some sort of chemical that may enhance the FR properties of the fabric. The chemical will not only increase the flame-resistant property but also increase the durability of the fabric. These chemicals are meant to prevent the spread of flame and to withstand heat.   Once the source of ignition is removed, the flame-resistant fabric should extinguish itself. From Firefighters to electricians and oil industries workers wear these sorts of fabrics in their everyday duties because their working conditions are one of the harshest. Many different types of fire-resistant fabrics are used to make clothes, manufacture products, and other products. Flame-resistant fabrics maintain flames in one location and extinguish it when the original source is gone and puts out the flames. Manufacturers add a distinctive finish to the fabric to produce the flame retardant property.

Types of FR fabrics

Mostly FR fabrics consist of two types such as inherently and treated FR fabrics. The differences are quite minute between these two as both of them serve the same purpose that is to protect the person who wears them. However, they do have characteristics that distinguish them.

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Inherently FR fabrics

Inherently FR fabrics are made from natural raw materials that are fire-resistant that is why they are called inherent. These fabrics can be made into treated fabrics with some chemicals to enhance their properties. Unlike treated fabrics, inherent fabrics last for more washes as the chemical on treated fabrics washes away with detergent and soap after a limited number of washes. These fabrics do not ignite when in contact with a flame within the normal environment with a normal amount of oxygen. Inherent fibers are weaved into synthetic materials that are engineered to have better FR properties. The thermal protection is very high with inherent fabrics with low weight that make them comfortable to wear in harsh environments.

The advantages of having naturally FR fibers play in the long run as they have a long life and the properties do not wash away after washing them with soap or detergent. This does not compromise the inherent fiber clothing's flame-resistant features. It is essential that the individual wearing it always understands that there is no 100% indestructible flammable protection.

How inherent fabrics actually work by burning itself for a short period of them and then extinguish the flame by containing it and not letting it spread and when the source of the fire is removed the flame dies and leaves the person wearing the fabric safe and without any harm.

Treated FR fabrics

It is possible to produce treated FR fabrics in one of two ways. They can be woven or kneaded from fibers of non-FR materials otherwise, such as cotton that is treated to make the fibers flammable. Or, more frequently, the fabric is woven or knit from flammable fibers, and then the finished fabric is handled chemically to create it resistant to flames. In either case, the end product is designed up to their specific FR ratings to withstand arc flash and flash fire events. Compliance with defined norms is the main factor determining fabric choice, but the finest materials also ensure higher wearer comfort, enhanced color consistency, fabric stability, and durability. Many wearers are more comfortable with treated cotton or other cellulosic than with intrinsic FR fabrics. Treated FR fabrics tend to be less costly than intrinsic FR fabrics, and as the lifespan of treated FR fabric has been increasing in the latest years owing to improvements in treatment technology.

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Unlike inherent fabrics, treated fabrics are treated with some sort of chemical to give it the fire resistance it needs. This chemical can be washed away after detergent is used. Treatment fabrics should be cared for. Less hardness is ideal because there are salts in hard water that can leave the deposits of the fabric.  These deposits can negate the clothing's flameproof features. Deposits can even be used as fuel if a source of ignition is in the clothing. Bleach should be avoided with these fabrics as bleach damages the fiber and reacts with the chemical that makes it fire resistant and decreases its life

Cotton blended with modacrylic fibers makes a different kind of fiber that is smooth and comfortable fiber to wear. It is not only smooth and comfortable but also very strong and durable. These fibers are best for heat resistance because of the chemical applied to it.

These kinds of fiber are a little more common applications. They are used in industrial apparel, facilities and work uniforms for firefighters where the fire is a big threat to the workers.  It is recommended to wash fibers without hot water and harsh soaps.

Advancements in treated fabrics are made every day. Different blends of fabrics are combined to get the best possible results with different sorts of covering chemicals that are placed on the fabrics.


No matter what type of fabric is used it is mostly based on personal preference. Both types of fabrics prove useful and defensive against heat and fire. The buyer must decide what type of environment the fabric is going to be used in and according to that they must decide the type of fabric that is needed.

It is important to know what kind of product you are buying because if the buyer doesn’t choose right, someone’s life might be in trouble. The employers need to be concerned about the safety of the workers because it is their fundamental right.

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Author Biography.

Usman Ali
Usman Ali

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