That people often use the terms “flame retardant” and “flame resistant” interchangeably. However, they are not the same thing. Knowing the difference between them could impact your choice of materials for certain applications.
Here’s an introduction to what each of these terms means and how their characteristics will affect your selection of industrial yarns and threads.
Flame resistant yarns and threads are naturally nonflammable due to their inherent structure and from the inside out, they are completely resistant to flame. Some fibers will not melt e.g. Para-Aramids, PBI, PBO, and Modacrylic (Kaneka Modacrylic Protex®-C); other fibers such as Meta-Aramids, Kuraray Vectran™, PEEK, Carbon, PTFE, and Glass will melt. Most materials that have a Thermal Degradation Temp (TDT) with LOI values greater than 21% will not support combustion.
Flame resistant materials can be blended with other materials, depending on your needs for cost and flame resistance.
Flame-resistant threads are threads made from materials that are naturally resistant to flame or heat. These threads are often used in applications where exposure to fire or heat is a concern, such as in firefighting equipment, military uniforms, and aerospace and automotive components.
The most common materials used in flame-resistant threads are aramid fibers, which are known for their excellent resistance to heat, flame, and chemicals. Aramid fibers are used in a variety of applications, including flame-resistant clothing, industrial filters, and insulation materials. Other materials that may be used to create flame-resistant threads include fiberglass, ceramic, and other high-temperature-resistant materials.
Flame-resistant threads are typically tested according to industry standards to ensure that they meet certain criteria for flame resistance, such as resistance to ignition, flame spread, and heat transfer. These standards may vary depending on the application and the level of flame resistance required.
Overall, flame-resistant threads provide an important level of protection in applications where exposure to fire or heat is a concern. By using materials that are naturally resistant to flame or heat, flame-resistant threads can help to prevent or limit the spread of fire, which can help to protect people and property.
When a yarn or thread is flame-retardant, it has been coated with a special chemical that expels gases and causes heat to dissipate, thereby reducing the rate of reaction. Before heat can reach the inner core of the material or catch fire, the flame will be extinguished. Most synthetic fibers with a low limiting oxygen index (LOI) can be coated to promote flame retardancy.
Flame retardant threads
Flame retardant threads are special types of threads that are designed to resist burning when exposed to heat or flames. These threads are commonly used in a variety of applications, including in the production of protective clothing, upholstery, and automotive products.
The main purpose of using flame retardant threads is to enhance safety and reduce the risk of fire accidents. These threads are made of materials that are inherently resistant to fire, such as synthetic fibers or treated natural fibers. The threads may also be treated with special coatings or chemicals that help to reduce their flammability.
When selecting flame retardant threads, it is important to choose threads that are appropriate for the intended application. Factors to consider include the type of material the thread will be used on, the temperature range the thread will be exposed to, and the desired level of flame resistance.
In addition to flame retardant threads, it is also important to use other fire-resistant materials and safety measures to help reduce the risk of fire accidents. These may include fire-resistant fabrics, fire alarms and detectors, fire extinguishers, and safe storage of flammable materials.
Flame retardant vs flame resistant threads
Flame retardant and flame resistant threads are two types of threads that are designed to resist or inhibit the spread of fire. However, there are some important differences between the two.
- Flame retardant threads are treated with special chemicals that are designed to prevent or slow down the ignition of the thread when exposed to heat or flame. These chemicals work by releasing gases or forming a protective layer when exposed to heat, which can help to prevent the thread from catching fire. Flame retardant threads can be made from a variety of materials, including natural fibers like cotton and synthetic fibers like polyester.
- Flame resistant threads, on the other hand, are made from materials that are naturally resistant to flame or heat. These threads are typically made from fibers like aramid, which are inherently flame resistant and do not require chemical treatments to provide flame resistance. Flame resistant threads are often used in applications where exposure to flame or heat is a concern, such as in firefighting equipment, military uniforms, and automotive and aerospace components.
While both flame retardant and flame resistant threads provide some level of protection against fire, it’s important to choose the right type of thread for your specific application. Flame retardant threads may be suitable for applications where the risk of fire is lower, while flame resistant threads may be necessary for more high-risk applications.
Selecting flame retardant and flame resistant
When choosing between flame retardant and flame resistant yarns and threads, take the following factors into consideration:
- Specific use: What is the end-user? Is flammability a larger or smaller concern than strength, durability, conductivity, and other characteristics? Can you find a balance among these needs or does non-flammability outweigh them all?
- Safety precautions: Will the material be used in an extremely hot environment? Will it have long-term exposure to UV rays or open flames? Choose carefully when safety is paramount. Is the retardant on the material regulated by any U.S. jurisdiction?
- Processing setup: In certain facilities, there will be high abrasion and/or high temperatures during processing. There could even be airborne chemicals or particulate matter in the environment. This may affect your choice of yarn/thread.
- Mil-specs: Under the Berry Amendment, there are military specifications that require non-flammable materials. Follow these guidelines if you are supplying to the U.S. government.