There are many flame-resistant fabrics in the market today and the list below covers many of the most commonly known. Having a rundown of these fabrics and a brief description might help when determining which fabrics you may want to consider for your FR clothing program.

Inherent FR Fabric
The term ‘inherently flame-resistant fabric’ is one that is used for fabrics that do not require the addition of flame-retardant chemicals after the yarn has been spun or the fabric has been woven or knitted. The yarn for these fabrics use only fibers that are naturally flame resistant or a blend of fibers that include a combination of FR fibers or a combination of both FR fibers and non-FR fibers. The common theme is no flame retardant chemicals are added to the yarn or fabric to make them resist ignition or self-extinguish.

Brand Name

Manufacturer(s)

Fiber Blend

Weights (oz./yd²)

Typical Applications

Nomex® IIIA

TenCate™ & Springfield LLC with DuPont™ fiber

93% Nomex, 5% Kevlar®, 2% antistatic fiber

4.5, 6, 7.5

Flash fire

Protera®

Springfield LLC with DuPont fiber

65% modacrylic, 23% Nomex, 10% Kevlar, 2% antistatic fiber

6.5, 8

Arc flash & flash fire

Tecasafe® plus

TenCate

(7 oz./yd²)48% modacrylic, 37% lyocell, 15% para-aramid; (8.5 oz./yd²)) 45% modacrylic, 35% lyocell, 15% meta-aramid, 5% para-aramid

6.7, 7, 8.5

Arc flash & flash fire

Comfort MP™

TenCate

50% Nomex IIIA, 40% Lenzing FR®, 10% lyocell

4.5

Arc flash & flash fire

GlenGuard® FR

Glen Raven

(4.5 oz./yd²)) 74% Kermel, 20% modacrylic, 5% Twaron, 1% antistatic fiber; (6.4 oz./yd²)) 79% Kermel, 20% modacrylic, 1% antistatic fiber

4.5, 6.4

Arc flash (6.4 oz./yd²) & flash fire

PBI Gold®

TenCate

40% polybenzimidizole, 60% Kevlar

4.5

Flash fire

ArcWeld®

Nor*Fab

60% Lenzing FR, 40% Twaron

7, 9

Welding

Nomex® MHP

Springfield LLC with DuPont fiber

34% Nomex & Kevlar, 33% lyocell, 31% modacrylic, 1% antistatic fiber

7

Arc flash & flash fire

Dual Hazard FR

Springfield LLC

48% Tencel (lyocell), 40% modacrylic, 12% aramid

6.5, 7.5, 8.5

Arc flash & flash fire

CXP®

Milliken®

93% Nomex, 5% Kevlar, 2% antistatic fiber

4.5

Flash fire

Firewear®

Springfield LLC

55% modacrylic, 45% cotton

6, 9.6

Arc flash (9.6 oz./yd²) & flash fire

Note: This list is by no means a complete list of every flame-resistant fabric available today, and the information on this list can change, as the fabric manufacturers make changes to their fabrics. Various weight fabrics may not be suitable for a specific hazard or higher levels of arc flash or flash fire exposure.

FR Treated Fabrics
Unlike inherent fabrics, FR treated fabrics have the flame retardant chemicals added to the fabric after it has been woven or knitted. These chemicals make the fabric resist ignition and self-extinguish.

Brand Name

Manufacturer

Fiber Blend

Weights (oz./yd²))

Typical Applications

Indura®

Westex™

100% cotton

7, 9.5, 12, 14

Arc flash & flash fire

UltraSoft®

Westex™

88% cotton, 12% Nylon

5.5, 7, 9.5, 11, 12, 14

Arc flash & flash fire

Amtex™ C100

Mount Vernon

100% cotton

5.25, 7, 9, 10, 13

Arc flash & flash fire

Amtex™ Plus

Mount Vernon

88% cotton, 12% Nylon

6, 6.5, 7, 8.5, 9, 11

Arc flash & flash fire

Phoenix FR

Mount Vernon

100% cotton (denim)

7, 11.5, 11.75, 12.75, 14.75

Arc flash & flash fire

Amplitude®

Milliken®

88% cotton, 12% Nylon

7, 9

Arc flash & flash fire

Walls® FR™

Williamson Dickie Mfg.

100% cotton

7, 9, 12

Arc flash & flash fire

Walls® FR™

Williamson Dickie Mfg.

88% cotton , 12% Nylon

7, 9, 14

Arc flash & flash fire

Note: This list is by no means a complete list of every flame-resistant fabric available today, and the information on this list can change, as the fabric manufacturers make changes to their fabrics. Various weight fabrics may not be suitable for a specific hazard or higher levels of arc flash or flash fire.

How to Choose?
Choosing the right fabric for your FR garments takes a thorough evaluation of your specific situation. The first step is identifying your particular hazard and to perform a hazard assessment to determine the level of exposure your workers could experience. Once you know the hazard and the level of exposure, you can evaluate the various FR clothing items that provide the protection level needed. Because the different fabrics and garments have different properties, you’ll need to determine which ones are most important to you and your workers – properties like fabric weight, appearance, durability, clothing features, fit, manufacturer’s support, availability, and price. One common way to perform this evaluation is to narrow down the list to those most promising and then perform a wear trial. That way the workers get to try the clothing/fabrics in the environment in which they will be worn and can provide input to the buying decision.

Summary
There are a lot of choices these days, so finding the right fabric, item of clothing and manufacturer before making your decision can really pay off in the long run. Do your homework – set up a wear trial and your decision should be one that addresses your safety issues and gets buy-in from your employees.

Mark Saner – Technical Manager
Workrite Uniform Company
© Workrite Uniform Company, Inc.