SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1992

The Durability of Flame Resistant Fabrics in an Industrial Laundry Environment


Flame resistant (FR) protective apparel must provide protection, comfort, and cost-effectiveness through the anticipated wear life of such garments. Flame retardant treated cotton apparel is known to be comfortable, moderate in cost, satisfactory in wear life, and durable to laundering. Yet, extensive literature on wash durability has not overcome concerns of industrial launderers about performance of the finish under exposure to heavy soiling and at the severe wash conditions of temperature and alkalinity used in their processing. Questions of FR cotton garment life and finish durability compared to inherently flame resistant synthetics, such as Nomex III® have restricted to some degree overall use of FR apparel by industrial launderers.

A new treatment for 100% cotton fabrics based on PROBAN® flame retardant was recently introduced as INDURA® fabric. This finishing technique significantly extends FR durability under industrial laundering conditions.

This study examined INDURA PROBAN cotton and comparable Nomex III fabrics under conditions of heavy soil processing found in industrial laundries. Levels of fabric tensile and tear strength and flex abrasion resistance were tested after extended controlled launderings representing the expected service life of garments. Additionally, vertical flame and thermal protective performance (TPP) tests were conducted to measure flame and thermal resistance.

Author Information

Loftin, DH
Red Kap Industries, Nashville, TN
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Developed by Committee: F23
Pages: 775–784
DOI: 10.1520/STP19205S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5194-9
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-1430-2