Enhanced protection of military personnel using flame-retardant on lightweight fabric

K. Postell
United States

Keywords: flame-retardant, military, heat reflective, personal protective gear, uniforms


Burn injuries pose a universal threat to all military, firefighting, and first-responding personnel. Combat clothing for today’s wartime fighter must be engineered to fit the high performance demands of comfort and durability on the battlefield. Materic has developed a flame-retardant coating for the military that has several key components that currently allows coated 50/50 NYCO to resist combustion. When applied, this finish can make the inherently combustible 50/50 NYCO textile an incombustible blend of fibers with no melt/drip. The ability to impart FR capabilities resides in the FR-technology’s ability to (1) reduce the heat flux through the fabric, (2) convert combustible fibers into incombustible carbonaceous char and (3) dilute the concentration of combustible volatiles with incombustible gasses. This flame-retardant coating causes inherently flammable fabric to self-extinguish in ≤ 2 seconds once exposed to a flame, be wash durable up to 100 washes, and compatible with post-treatment finishes. Applied using a dip bath, for fabric yardage, or a pressure vessel, for cut and sewn uniforms, this FR technology has been proven successful for military uniforms while remaining comfortable, breathable, and durable. The use of this technology provides thermal protection at a fraction of the cost associated with other FR uniforms (e.g., FR-ACU), making this technology a viable option for the military and other commercial users. There are other commercial applications that could benefit from improved FR in light weight fabrics, such as safety wear, chef jackets, and other textiles.