Flame Retardant Coveralls- All You Should Know
October 25, 2018
Thinking about have we, as a human race, have come so long from the stone-age and invented all the things that connect us, keep us safe and make us superior. The man has always sought for safety, be it by building a shelter or accumulating food in the case or draught or covering body to be safe from rain, wind, and the sun. One such type of safety clothing is a fire-retardant fabric material clothing.
The invention of the Fire retardant fabric dates back to 400 B.C. but didn't really make its way in trading until 1632 when there was a need for making fireproof materials in Paris. The formal research and proper laboratory experiments were conducted in the 18th century. Alum and ammonium were initially used to make natural fibers fire resistant and then later a combination of two salts were used to make fire resistant fabrics. These techniques were helpful in making natural fibers fire resistant, but when synthesized materials started trading, newer experiments were conducted to perfectly manufacture completely fire-retardant fabrics.
Parallelly, with the rapid increase in industrialization exposed human beings to open flames, extremely hot machinery, fire sparks, explosive and flammable materials, chemicals highly prone to catch fire and other combustible materials during work. The employees carried a high risk of getting caught in the fire and getting injured seriously or even death. While such cases were on the rise, the industry wasn't equipped with safety products to protect the employees.
It is very important for the industries that are prone to fire accidents and explosion to be prepared to be safe from fire. The treatment of burns is more painful than the burning itself. The victims of fire suffer a lot, physically as well as mentally. As a safety measure, the shop floor was made fireproof. This made the industry ready to mitigate any fire accident.
Even after having fire security in place, the most notable problem during such small incidences of fire was that even after being able to take the fire down and settling the fire, once the employee injury could not be reduced because even after taking away the source of fire, cotton, nylon, and other fabric workwear continued to burn on the body leading to serious injury sometimes even death. This was when the need for personal protective wear designed to absorb fire was felt.
The fire retardant fabric has the property of extinguishing the fire by itself on catching fire effectively reducing the burning and saving the workers from damage. The overall suit in the industry is made from this fire resistant fabric. The Fire retardant fabrics last longer than the regular fabrics and are safer to use. A single layer of flame retardant on the fabric is also able to combat the fire and prevent severe damages.
In case of a fire emergency, the person wearing a fire retardant coverall has more time to escape and mitigate the fire. By wearing the personal protective wear, the employees can not only save themselves but also be able to put off the fire and rescue others.
There have been a lot of experiments conducted in making better fire resistant personal boiler suits. The three different technologies that go into making a fabric fire retardant are:
- Thermally stable fibres: Using thermally stable fibres is the easiest technology. These fibres are heat resistant by nature. They tend to maintain their molecular structure even in a very high-temperature range. They do not react to fire. This property being an inherent property, these fibres are stable permanently and do not need to be replaced. These protective suits made from these fibres are tear resistant and have a very long life.
- Solid state treatments: The fibres which are not thermally stable are made flame-resistant by treating them with chemicals which are fire resistant. This is a widely used technology in making natural fibre fire resistant. The regular fabrics are engineered with chemicals. The chemicals do not bond with the fibres but form a fire extinguishing layer on the fibres making them fire resistant. The fibres are induced with the quality of resisting fire. The fibres such as cotton and rayon which are comfortable and easy to wear and carry are modified to make them fire resistant.
- Gas state treatment: Similar to solid state treatments, the gas activated fibres have a layer of chemicals on the fibre which gets activated when the fibre comes in contact with the fire. When exposed to fire, a layer of gases is formed around the wearables combating the fire and keeping the fibre from catching fire. In normal circumstances, the fibre is normal and is unreactive. The gas treated fibres are relatively less durable and prone to lose their properties over a period.
Fabrics treated with different intensities and different molecular structures consist of both, inherent and treated materials. Some of the widely used fabrics in the industry that adhere to the industry standards are:
- Nomex: Nomex is a breathable, durable and a fire resistant fabric pretty much like nylon which is used to make flame retardant workwear.
- Kevlar: Kevlar is a piece of fabric which has insulating properties as well. Thus, is a perfect choice for making work wear in extreme cold and hot conditions. It has a high tensile strength which makes it perfect for making bulletproof jackets.
- Indure: Indura is a cotton based flame retardant fabric which is widely used in manufacturing safety clothing. Shirts, socks, shoes, caps, pants, overalls and every piece of clothing can be manufactured using Indura.
- PBI: PBI is fabric with inherent fire resistant qualities. The moisture content in the fiber makes it very useful in manufacturing fabrics that ought to come in direct contact with fire.