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A review of fire blocking technologies for soft furnishings

DOI: 10.1186/2193-0414-1-1

Keywords: Soft furnishings, Upholstered furniture, Barrier fabrics, Mattress, Flammability, Review, Regulations

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Abstract:

In 2009, the National Institute of Science and Technology and American Fiber Manufacturers Association held a workshop on fire blocking barrier fabrics for soft furnishings to discuss the past, present, and future state of the barrier materials in the US. This manuscript is based on knowledge obtained from the workshop and the subsequent knowledge gathered from literature and stakeholders. Several fire blocking technologies have been explored to reduce the flammability of soft furnishings by preventing or delaying direct flame impingement and heat transfer from the flames or molten polymer to the core components. While previous studies reported on use of fire barriers to comply with full-scale testing of soft furnishing items, they failed to report on assessment of barrier materials as isolated components. In addition to a few examples that demonstrate the complexity that makes a priori selection of fire barrier materials difficult, various fire blocking technologies are discussed in this report with respect to material type, fiber content, and fire blocking mechanisms. Potential test methods for characterizing barrier performance are reviewed. Future trends in fire blocking materials are also briefly described.

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