Conference: Fire-safe Textiles and Plastics
More information on http://www.centexbel.be/fire-safe-textiles-plastics
Fire-retardant textiles in 2016: reconciling regulations, ecology and economy
Funded by IWT
Each year 6 to 24 million fires flare up all around the world with about 100,000 victims. Whereas the average lapse of time between the start of a fire and the moment the fire is no longer under control, the “flash over”, was only 17 minutes in 1975, it is now reduced - because of the increasing number of inflammable materials (such as carpets, curtains…) - to barely 3 to 6 minutes.
It is therefore vital to add fire retardant agents to plastics, textiles and other materials, in order to prevent combustion as much as possible. If the material catches fire, nevertheless, the same fire retardants will slow down the fire spread. At the same time, however, the addition of fire retardants may not have a negative influence on the affinity to processing and on the properties of the material (flexibility, strength, softness…).
Because of the high number of victims and damages caused by a fire, it is logical that the standards regarding fire retardancy and inflammability are becoming increasingly severe.
At the same time, the possibilities to apply commonly used fire retardant agents are restricted for ecological reasons. Severe European regulations, such as REACH and CLP, are banning certain fire retardant agents in specific markets (e.g. ban on decaBDE).
Moreover, consumers are rightly demanding more eco-friendly materials, a demand that is being reflected in the increasingly severe requirements of eco-labels (EcoFlower, Oeko-Tex 1000…). Recent changes within Oeko-Tex and other eco-labels will further limit the use of fire retardants that are often being applied in the textile industry.
It goes without saying that the sector voiced its concern. The textile industry insisted on the development of alternative products and treatments complying with all these requirements. Moreover they may not cause any problem during their application in or on textiles. And all this has to be economically feasible.
Aim of the trajectory
In view of the urgent demand of the textile sector for new and alternative fire retardant agents and treatments, Centexbel initiated, with the support of Flamac, a trajectory in answer to these needs.
The centre of attention was alternative fire retardant systems in both coating and extrusion in order to address the entire textile sector.
The objectives were therefore:
- mapping the most important industrial fire retardants and their applicability in the textile sector
- looking for synergies between product suppliers and the textile industry
- upgrading fire retardant textiles through the evaluation of alternative systems and an optimal
harmonisation with the textile sector (coating and extrusion)
- raising awareness on the issue, new legislations and labelling (REACH, Oeko-Tex®, EcoFlower,…)
- dissemination of test results to the companies belonging to target group
- inducing collaborations between the suppliers of raw materials, additives, finishes and the textile sector
The companies belonging to the target group steered the project and monitored the industrial relevance by participating in the functional user’s group. A number of cases was studied in detail to prove the feasibility for a number of textile applications.
Duration: June 1st, 2012 - May 31st, 2016
Ine De Vilder
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