Flame Retardant Viscose is a type of artificial fiber whose central characteristic is its level of fire resistance. As the name implies, Flame Retardant Viscose is a variant of another type of artificial fiber: Viscose. Both are derived from cellulose, an organic substance later chemically treated during the fiber production process.
The main difference between Flame Retardant Viscose and its “original” version is found precisely during the chemical treatment. In the production process of this specific artificial fiber, a chemical substance is added that gives it the ability to resist fire. Apart from its fire resistance capacity, Flame Retardant Viscose ends up being similar to its counterpart in every way.
They share the same type of qualities: they look like silk and their feel is more as that of cotton. However, the time it takes for Flame Retardant Viscose fibers to burn, i.e. the high temperatures they are able to withstand, is exceptionally longer than most other fibers.
The components or chemical substances added during the production process are the result of countless tests that ensure the consumers know exactly the conditions in which Flame Retardant Viscose can actually resist fire.
Flame Retardant Viscose is an artificial fiber resistant to fire. It is mainly used in the creation of circular knitted fabrics whose objective is to increase the level of thermal protection, without neglecting comfort or absorption power.
Its retarding effect is permanent, with Flame Retardant Viscose being the object of adequate technology that increases such protection. Therefore, its fibers do not burn or melt.
At the same time, this is a non-toxic material, with excellent heat insulating capacity, as well as being anti-static.
Moreover, its characteristics are the same as those found in the original Viscose-based artificial fiber, including the level of comfort, essential for those who need to work with Flame Retardant Viscose. Finally, the fact that it is an artificial fiber made from cellulose puts it in line with the latest environmental concerns.
The composition of Flame Retardant Viscose is what gives this fiber the ability to resist fire.
This ability is due to the incorporation of a phosphorus-based chemical substance in its molecular structure, during its production process. Specifically, this addition takes place when the fiber is about to reach its final shape, after being forced through the spinnerets.
The creation of resistant circular knitted fabrics such as Flame Retardant Viscose makes use of the saturation process in order to impregnate the fiber with a phosphorus-based solution that molds the whole set and transforms the final product into a permanently resistant circular knitted fabric.
However, this is a process specific to the production of Flame Retardant Viscose.
In other fibers that may have the same type of resistance, the addition of this kind of chemical substance also takes place, although at distinctive times of production and in different quantities or mixtures. This is also the case for the Lyocell fiber, in its fire-resistant version.
When circular knitted fabrics like Flame Retardant Viscose are exposed to heat, their fibers begin to “break” and melt. Interestingly, it is this effect that causes them to interact with the previously added chemical substances right at that moment.
This interaction gives rise to another chemical reaction that in turn leads to the creation of a stable and solid barrier which prevents the continual propagation of heat, preventing the remaining fibers from continuing to break apart until they completely disintegrate, as is normal for other types of fibers.
When scientists began to develop fire-resistant fibers such as Flame Retardant Viscose, their goal was to create materials capable of denying flames one of the three essential ingredients for their propagation. For a fire to occur and grow, flame, fuel, and oxygen are needed. In this case, the solution found negates the fuel necessary for its development.
Thus, Flame Retardant Viscose maintains its original appearance as well as all its comfort, while at the same time offering resistance to short-term heat hazards.
In case a thermal incident takes place, Flame Retardant Viscose protects its user for a short period of time, sometimes critical for their rescue. However, it is important to emphasize that for each occasion there is a solution, and this type of artificial fiber may not be the most suitable for all situations.
Most applications of circular knitted fabrics made from Flame Retardant Viscose are associated with protective equipment or material, used by experienced workers who also need to feel comfortable and free to move.
It is available at ITJV, only through catalogue request and sample validation.
This text was written and published in 2021