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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Project Type: Specific Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 21, 2006
End Date: Dec 31, 2009

(1) To produce Flame Retardant (FR) Cotton Blend Flame Barrier Mattress Pads using cotton and other materials. (2) To treat cotton (and lyocell), with chemicals to impart flame retardancy to cotton (lyocell). (3) To prepare an intimate blend of (FR) treated fibers with other inherently flame retardant fibers. (4) To prepare pads for mattresses with the fiber blends, foam, scrim, and adhesives. (5) To evaluate the FR pads and components for flammability and mechanical properties. (6) To determine the best combination of materials, economics, and processing conditions to produce high quality FR mattress pads that conform to the open flame standard. (7) To determine the best candidate(s) for commercially producing FR pads and for mattress burn test. (8) To demonstrate the FR mattress pad(s) protecting mattress (es) by open flame burning tests.

Scientific research on mattresses has been driven primarily by the sleep comfort, cost, and flame retardancy regulations enforced by the state legislature. These regulations are formulated time-to-time based on the statistics published by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on residential fires. Recent mattress flammability standard addressing the fires by open flames has been implemented by California legislature since January 2005 and there is a proposal to extend this across the country with effect from July 2007. This indicates a high market potential for a viable flame retardant (FR) mattresses. The proposed research is to produce FR mattress pads using cotton and other flame resistant fibers such as Visil (FR Rayon), Trevira (FR PET), Modacrylic and Basofil (Melamine). Flame resistance will be further enhanced by treating the constituent cotton fibers with chemicals such as Borax, Phosphates, and intumescent silicate clay nanocomposites. PE/PET bicomponent fibers and other binders such as Rhoplex, Spunfab will be incorporated in the product. The fabrication of mattress pad involves making an intimate blend of fibers at different proportions in a card; followed a sandwich type construction using flexible foam and scrim, hot air assisted thermo bonding and drying. Effort is on the optimum use of natural fibers, mainly cotton, a biodegradable, renewable resource. The finished product will be characterized for standard flammability tests such as Limited Oxygen Index, Cigarette burn test, Vertical and Horizontal flame tests, and integrity of the after-flame charred product. It is expected that viable products containing cotton, with other FR fibers and additives suitable for making mattresses conforming to the open flames standard can be produced. Based on the laboratory evaluation, promising compositions will be used to make prototype mattress pads, which will be wrapped around the mattress and tested in an outside laboratory according to the proposed (TB 603) standard in the dual burner open flame. The goal of the project is to produce FR mattress pads using cotton with other fibers, in the most economical way.

Last Modified: 12/17/2014
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