Flame Resistant Fabrics: Helping to Reduce Fire Hazards across Industries

Flame resistant fabrics market are textiles that can resist fire, comparatively more than other textiles, or textiles that have reduced fire hazard properties, either because of their fiber’s natural composition or due to treatment with a fire-resistant chemical. Fire resistant fabric are called so based on the time taken by the fabric to burn, as all fibers or fabrics will ultimately burn under certain circumstances.

Some synthetic fibers are exceptionally resistant to flame, such as modacrylic and glass fibers. Some synthetic fibers, on the other hand, take time to ignite and may even extinguish on their own. However, once some synthetic fibers ignite, they melt and do not catch fire. The resulting molten substance can lead to severe burns if it comes in contact with the skin. Flammability of fabrics is an important issue, especially for those used in industries with a high risk of thermal hazards, fire accidents, arc flash, and flash fire. These industries could be oil and gas, and chemicals units. Such fabrics also have many uses in fields such as firefighting and defense services. Although no fabric has complete fireproof qualities, some can naturally resist fire more than others. Those that are more flammable than the others can be treated with certain chemicals and have their fire resistance capabilities highly improved.

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Based on whether the fabric is naturally resistant to flame due to its composition or chemical treatment, flame resistant fabrics are primarily divided into two categories:

  • Inherently flame resistant fabrics are materials that possess flame resistant qualities by virtue of the chemical composition of their fiber. Such fabrics have the protection built into their fiber itself, which is why the fire resistance of these fabrics can never be washed away or worn out. In other words, the fire resistance nature of these fabrics lasts during the lifetime of the fabric. In certain inherent flame resistant fabrics, the fiber swells and becomes thicker when subjected to fire, thus forming a protective barrier between the skin and heat’s source for a certain period of time.

  • Flame-resistance treated fabrics are materials that are made fire-resistant by treating normal fabric with flame resisting chemicals. Either a chemical additive is applied to the fiber or the fabric is treated with chemicals to provide the resulting fabric some level of flame resistance. In these fabrics, a chemical reaction capable of extinguishing the flame is triggered when the fabric comes in contact with fire.

Global Demand for Flame-resistant Fabric:

The global market of flame resistant fabrics earns majority of its demand from various industries dealing with fire hazards. The increased global focus on workers’ safety has led governments to implement regulations that make using flame resistant fabrics compulsory for certain areas and processes in industries such as oil and gas and chemicals.U.S.-based market intelligence firm, Transparency Market Research, states that the global market for flame resistant fabric had a net worth of US$3.12 billion in 2013. The market will grow at a CAGR of 6.7% between 2014 and 2020 and reach US$4.87 billion by 2020. Volume-wise, the global demand for flame resistant fabrics was 298.2 million square meters in 2013.

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The report adds that the robust growth in global chemical, oil and gas industries is a key driving force behind the global flame resistant fabric market, especially in developing countries. The market for fire resistant fabrics is well developed in the regions such as North America and Europe. In the future, the market is expected to observe steady growth in the Asia-Pacific region due to flourishing oil and gas industries and tightening government regulations regarding worker safety.

Some of the prominent vendors of the global fire resistant fiber market are Milliken & Company, PBI Performance Products, DuPont, Kaneka Corporation, Huntsman Corporation, Lenzing AG, TenCate, Toyobo Co., Ltd., Gun Ei Chemical Industry Co., Solvay S.A, Ltd., and Teijin Aramid B. V.

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