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FR Treatments Explained

Posted: 1/21/2019

By: Collin Barnwell

Flame resistant fabrics have become a hot topic with manufacturers of Expo and Trade Show booths. These booths must comply with the National Fire Protection Association's standards for flame resistance and retardant. What exactly are flame resistance and flame retardant treatments?

What is a FR Treatment?

The term "FR" can have two meanings:

  • Flame Retardant fabrics have been chemically treated to be slow burning or self-extinguish when exposed to an open flame. This does not mean the fabric will extinguish the open flame, but it will prevent the flame from quickly engulfing the material.
  • Flame Resistant fabrics are made from inherently non flammable materials and will burn, but at a very slow rate and will self-extinguish.

Fabrics can be inherently flame resistant, but must be treated with a chemical coating to be labeled "flame retardant". Flame retardant coatings are applied by dissolving a chemical solution in water and then either spraying or dipping the material into the solution. A flame retardant treatment can be removed by washing the material. If the treatment is removed the treatment will need to be reapplied, to keep the material flame retardant.

National Fire Protection Association Testing

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) offers two testing methods for determining if a material is flame resistant or flame retardant. The first test, NFPA 701, is a lab specific test measuring the amount of allowable burnable fabric. If a formal lab test is unavailable, the NFPA offers a field test, NFPA 705, which allows testers to use a match stick or lighter to perform a 'vertical burn test' and determine if a material contains a FR treatment. An example of the 'vertical burn test' can be seen in the header image of this article.

Popular Products

Some popular styles touting a Flame Resistant treatment are:

If you are interested in learning more about our selection of Flame Resistant fabrics, you can contact our Customer Service team to find specific styles using the 'Live Chat' function on our website. DirecTex offers low-cost wholesale pricing to business and government agencies. Contact DirecTex to learn more about our product lines. DirecTex specializes in custom manufactured components and subassemblies for your projects.

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