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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Cotton-based Nonwovens

Location: Cotton Chemistry and Utilization Research

Title: Flame retardant cotton barrier nonwovens for mattresses

Authors
item Parikh, Dharnidhar
item Ingber, Bruce
item Nam, Sunghyun
item Bhat, Gajanan -
item Warnock, Mary -
item Harrington, Lee -

Submitted to: Fire Sciences Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 29, 2012
Publication Date: January 18, 2013
Citation: Parikh, D.V., Ingber, B.F., Nam, S., Bhat, G., Warnock, M., Harrington, L. 2013. Flame retardant cotton barrier nonwovens for mattresses. Fire Sciences Journal. 0(0) 1-16.

Interpretive Summary: FR characteristics of grey unbleached nonwoven cotton fabric treated with either Flovan® CGN formulation and the SRRC-1 formulation were studied. Both formulations produced comparable FR cotton fabrics. Grey unbleached cotton enabled the FR cotton nonwoven to be especially economical. Unbleached cotton is less expensive and softer to the touch than bleached cotton, thus increasing the marketability for low to medium value mattresses. Scouring/bleaching increases the price significantly by a factor of more than two, and uses chemicals which must be disposed of in an environmentally benign way. The gray color of the unbleached cotton of our FR fabric should not pose a problem when used as a hidden barrier fabric. Mattresses constructed with FR cotton unbleached nonwoven barrier fabric are predicted to meet the requirements of 16CFR1633.

Technical Abstract: According to regulation CPSC 16 CFR 1633, every new residential mattress sold in the United States since July 2007 must resist ignition by open flame. An environmentally benign “green”, inexpensive way to meet this regulation is to use a low-cost flame retardant (FR) barrier fabric. In this study, a nonwoven fabric of grey unbleached cotton was treated with a low cost phosphate based formulation. Energy dispersive X-ray microanalysis (EDAX) showed uniform nitrogen and phosphorus distribution. With 17% add-on, the FR unbleached cotton barrier showed a LOI of 33% oxygen and 83 mm of char length with no after-flame and no afterglow in the vertical flame test. Under air and nitrogen at 500oC, respectively, 24% and 35% char remained after TGA. This flame resistance is comparable to that of current commercial barrier fabrics made from bleached cotton and Flovan CGN (Huntsman Corp.) or from T-bond grey cotton fiber highlofts (Jones Fiber). Mattresses constructed with a flame retardant cotton nonwoven barrier fabric are predicted to meet the requirements of 16CFR1633. As a follow-up to the present work, a full-scale mattress burn test is recommended

Last Modified: 9/21/2014
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