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ARS Home » Southeast Area » New Orleans, Louisiana » Southern Regional Research Center » Cotton Chemistry and Utilization Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #220927

Title: Processing and Characterization of Flame Retardant Cotton Blend Nonwovens for Soft Furnishings to Meet Federal Flammability Standards

item KAMATH, M.G.
item BHAT, G.S.
item Parikh, Dharnidhar
item Condon, Brian

Submitted to: Journal of Industrial Textiles
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/21/2008
Publication Date: 1/20/2009
Citation: Kamath, M., Bhat, G., Parikh, D.V., Condon, B.D. 2009. Processing and Characterization of Flame Retardant Cotton Blend Nonwovens for Soft Furnishings to Meet Federal Flammability Standards. Journal of Industrial Textiles. 38(3):251-262.

Interpretive Summary: The manuscript discusses a way of achieving resistance to small open-flame ignition of residential mattresses and thereby compliance of California AB 603 and the Federal regulation, CFR 1633 (the regulation is in force since July 1, 2007) with the use of a fire blocking, barrier interliner in the manufacture of mattresses. A cost-effective fire barrier flame resistant (FR) cotton nonwoven can be easily incorporated in the manufacture of mattresses, and is designed to protect and prevent ignition of the major cushioning component materials of a mattress. Limiting the fire involvement of the major cushioning component will significantly restrict the fire and thereby produce residential mattresses resistant to open flame ignition that burn at a much slower rate, and the flash point may not occur in 30 minutes. This will permit occupants to escape fire and save lives. The residential mattresses of the earlier type (without FR barrier) ignited and produced flames capable of engulfing an entire bedroom within 2-5 minutes. In a 2003 Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) study, it was found that in 1999 there were 18,000 mattress and bedding fires that led to 330 deaths and $300 million in property damage.

Technical Abstract: Effective July 1, 2007, it is mandatory that all mattress sets meet the federal flammability standard CFR 1633. It is necessary to impart flame resistance that would provide at least 30 minutes for occupants to escape fire. Changes in the flammability laws are expected on soft furnishings of sleep products like comforters and pillows. Generally, these products are the first to be engulfed by the fire. Currently, many inherently flame retardant (FR) fibers and chemicals are available in the market. We have developed barrier fabrics with FR properties by incorporating these fibers in blends with cotton that either meet or exceed the standard. Results from this ongoing research are discussed in this paper.