Flame-retardant polyester and polyamide textiles
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Polymeric materials are a large and growing fraction of the fire load in homes, in commercial environments, and in transportation, and are inherently flammable. Organic polymers degrade to give volatile combustible materials when they are heated above certain critical temperatures, which in turn depend on their chemical structures. Successful strategies to reduce flammability of a polymeric material involve interrupting the complex stages of the combustion process at one or more points so as to reduce the rate and/or change the mechanism of combustion at that point. The additives and reactives can interrupt the burning cycle of a polymer in several ways: by altering the thermal decomposition mechanism of a polymer; by quenching the flame; or by reducing the heat transferred from the flame to the decomposing polymer. It is a common practice, especially from a commercial point of view, to use a combination of flame retardants for polymeric materials. In many cases, these flame-retardant mixtures can give an enhanced performance at low cost. An alternative type of flame-retardant surface treatment for fibers and fabrics is the intumescent coating, applied using conventional coatings technology.