Choosing the Right Fire-Resistant clothing

Did you know that 63% of lab injuries result from thermal burns?

Deadly explosions in the lab cost life and limb from sustained burns. Just reference these accidents at the University of California Los Angeles, University of Hawaii Manoa, and Beacon High School to start.

As more thermal and fire protective fabrics become more accessible and functional, here are AmorSui’s tips on how to look for the best fire-resistant (FR) protective garments to keep you safe in the lab.

In general, there are two types of fire protective fabrics: treated and inherent FR fabrics.

Treated FR Fabrics:

Treated FR fabrics are made of natural fibers that are altered with a chemical finish during manufacturing, one that enables them to delay and resist flammability. Flame-retardant finishes are applied to textile fabrics made of cotton, polyester, wool, or various blends of these fibers. These finishes allow two types of chemical processes to occur, so the fabrics do not melt or ignite when exposed to intensive heat:

  1. Interruption of the radical combustion during the vapor phase to prevent fabric from igniting.

A chemical finish, such as decabromodiphenyl oxide, is applied to the fabric and will serve as a protective barrier by shielding from fire.

  1. Fire retardants emerging from charring on the surface of the fiber.

Chemicals reacting with combustible gases and tars generated by the fabric turn tar molecules into carbon char, forming a shield on the surface of the fabric and slowing the burning rate. The FR portion of the fabric is a long-chain polymer engineered and locked in the core of the cotton fiber, and the FR mechanism is solid-phase.

For the treated fabrics, the FR is guaranteed for the life of the garment. However, the laundering instructions need to be followed closely. You are unable to wash with bleach, fabric softener, or starch since these contaminants can mask the FR properties of the fabric.

Inherent FR Fabrics:

Another type of protective fabric is inherent protective fabrics. Like the treated fabrics, they have flame resistant properties, but this protection cannot be degraded through use or laundering because it arises from the fibers themselves. These fibers are made with a fire-resistant polymer base that is not flammable. The inherent fibers tend to be synthetics derived from petrochemicals molecules. These fabrics are flame-resistant within the textile and do not go through a treatment process to become flame-resistant.

AmorSui offers a wide range of products made of both treated and inherent FR fabrics sourced from certified manufacturers in the USA, and will last you a lifetime if cared for properly.

Check out our product offering and select the right high-quality injury-prevention garments for you.

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