This is the final post in a five-part “FR Clothing Materials” series. Don’t miss our previous posts, which offer insight into other commonly-asked questions: What is FR fabric, What is the difference between fire retardant and flame resistant, Is cotton FR, and What is Nomex Clothing.
If you buy and wear FR clothing, chances are you’ve seen references to Aramids being used to make some FRC – maybe even garments that you wear yourself. So what exactly is an Aramid and what makes Aramids a good fit for use to make FRC?
Aramid fibers are man-made (synthetic) fibers known for high strength, heat resistance, strong fabric integrity even at high temperatures, high tenacity, resistance to abrasion, resistance to chemicals and organic solvents, and failure to melt.
The name Aramid comes from the term “aromatic polyamide.” Aramids are defined by the Federal Trade Commission as “A manufactured fiber in which the fiber-forming substance is a long-chain synthetic polyamide in which at least 85% of the amide linkages are attached directly between two aromatic rings.”
Simply stated, aramids are man-made fibers with a chemical structure that makes them highly resistant to heat and degradation.
Aramids are produced by spinning solid fibers from a liquid chemical into high-performance fibers for use in many applications, including spinning into yarn used to make protective fabrics and garments – for arc-flash protection, flash fire protection, military, firefighting, auto racing, and more.
Aramid fibers also have many other uses including aerospace, the automotive industry (brake linings, tires), industrial applications (hoses and belts), and building materials.
There are two primary types of aramids, defined by their molecular composition:
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