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these demands are constantly being pushed upon by today's researchers and manufacturers, including protective

these demands are constantly being pushed upon by today's researchers and manufacturers,

including protective clothing - routine or specialised. High performance and high temperature resistant fibres aid enormously in allowing products to meet these challenges. The markets and products, which are facilitated by the use of these fibres, go far beyond the scope and awareness of most people. Melamine fibre has recently entered the high temperature fibre market, one of the newest fibres, and has made a rapid impact. Melamine fibre is an advanced synthetic fibre having superior heat and flame resistance with decomposition temperature above 350°C

Faster, stronger, lighter, safer

having superior heat and flame resistance with decomposition temperature above 350°C Faster, stronger, lighter, safer

A s per federal trade commission Melamine fibre is defined as, a manufactured fibre in which the fibre-forming substance is a synthetic polymer composed

of at least 50 per cent by weight of a cross-linked Melamine polymer and it is mainly

produced by Basofil fibres LLC, Enka, NC and marketed under the trade name, Basofil fibre. Basofil is an advanced technology Melamine fibre designed to enhance commodity fibres and synergistic high-temperature fibres to deliver cost-effective, engineered heat insulating and flame-resistant solutions and that the fibre, which is white and dyeable, can be processed on standard textile manufacturing equipment for the production of woven, knitted, and nonwoven fabrics.

Production of Melamine fibre

The production process Melamine fibre is proprietary. It is based on a unique Melamine chemistry that results in a cross-linked, non-thermoplastic polymer of Melamine units joined by methylene and dimethylene ether linkages. In the polymerization reaction, methylol derivatives of Melamine react with each other to form a three-dimensional structure. This network structure of Melamine fibre produces unique fibres with excellent inherent characteristics for fire protection, heat stability and low flammability – that is also durable and resistant to chemicals and ultraviolet light. Further, Melamine’s most outstanding physical properties are its high Limiting Oxygen Index (LOI), low thermal conductivity and the fact that it does not shrink, melt or drip when exposed to a flame.

Fibre properties

Melamine fibre is a cost effective heat resistant fibre with a 400°F (200°C) continuous operating temperature. Melamine fibres are flame resistant, have outstanding heat/dimensional stability, and are self-extinguishing.

Below are some important characteristics of Melamine fibre:

• Inherent, non-toxic protection - Fabrics made with Melamine are proven to be non-toxic and non-irritating through vigorous and extensive evaluation of VOC off-gassing, smoke density and skin irritation

• Highly insulating - Melamine is the most thermally insulating fibre available, boasting the industry’s highest Thermal Protective Performance (TPP) ratings

• Attractive finish - Melamine is white in colour and dyeable to support many different fabric finishes

• Durable and protective - With a superior dimensional stability, Melamine will not shrink, melt or drip, making it an excellent choice for protection in electric arc, flash fire, molten metals and hot gas environments

• Cool and breathable - Elliptically-shaped Melamine fibres allow fabrics to breathe better and keep wearers cooler

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• Melamine retains its protective qualities and durability through repeated

launderings • Chars without shrinking

• Low thermal conductivity

• High heat dimensional stability • Processable on standard textile equipment

• Unparalleled ultraviolet (UV) resistance • Melamine is insoluble

• Improve durability through fibre blending

• Optimised design includes:

Minimising apparel weight and thickness Maximising durability and minimising lifecycle costs through fibre blending

Blending with other fibre

Melamine fibres can be blended with both synergistic high temperature fibres and commodity fibres for peak performance.

• Melamine/polyester

• Melamine/cellulose

• Melamine/aramid

• Melamine/meta-aramid

Because of its variable denier and staple length, low tensile strength, and difficulty in processing, Melamine is generally blended with stronger fibres such as aramids. It is more often used in needled products or yarns made from wrapped spinning techniques, though recent advances have led to satisfactory ring spun yarns, blended with other fibres, such as para-aramids, suitable for weaving into firemen’s turnout gear. This development may lead the way to its adoption in other areas.

development may lead the way to its adoption in other areas. Self-extinguishing behaviour of model paper

Self-extinguishing behaviour of model paper with 35 per cent WF series Melamine fibre.

Important properties of Melamine fibre

Measurement

Units

Typical values

Colour

 

Ivory white

Average diametre

µm

15

Average denier

g/9000m

2.2 - 2.4

Specific gravity

g/cm3

1.4

Tensile strength

ksi

36

Tenacity

g/den

2.0

Modulus

Msi

 

g/den

1.0

55

Elongation at break

Per cent

11

Moisture regain (23°C, 65 per cent RH)

Per cent

5

Shrinkage at 200°C (1 hr exposure)

Per cent

<1

Limiting oxygen index

Per cent

32

Maximum continuous

°C

200

operating temperature

Maximum use temperature

°C

260-370°C (500-698°F)

Melting temperature

°C

Does not melt or drip

Hot air shrinkage, 1 hr. @ 200°C

Per cent

<1

Resistance to mildew, aging, sunlight

 

Excellent

Resistance to solvents, alkalis

 

Excellent

UV resistance

 

No strength loss after 200 hrs. xenon

Uses and applications

Apparel made with Melamine provides superior comfort, softness and breathability while protecting people who work in hazardous environments. Melamine is suitable for competitive and compliant protective apparel solutions those are well-suited to industrial, military and fire service professions. In the event of a fire, protective apparel must resist flame exposure and protect the wearer. Fabrics made with Melamine retain flexibility and dimensional stability when exposed to direct flame, ensuring that protective garments will not break open or shrink away during fire exposure.

Fabrics made with Melamine add insulation and protection in technical apparel. Following are the major application of Melamine fibre in apparel:

• Fire fighter turnout gear, including gloves and hoods

• Military and law-enforcement protective gear

• Industrial garments and protective workwear

• Racing apparel

Apart from apparel, Melamine is also used for below application in industry:

• Mattresses, home furnishings/nonwovens

• Speciality flame resistant papers

• Electrical papers

• Transmission/friction papers

• Electrical papers • Transmission/friction papers Melamine – Fibre cross section, longitudinal view, fabric

Melamine – Fibre cross section, longitudinal view, fabric and yarn

Protective converalls made with a Basofil/aramid firber blend hold up to flash-fire conditions Beginning of
Protective converalls made with a Basofil/aramid firber blend hold up to flash-fire conditions
Beginning of test
Mid-test
End of test

• Filtration media
• Engineered materials/Short-fibre composites

• Adhesives/Fillers

• Tire sealants

• Truck/Rail brakes

• Fire blocking fabrics: Aircraft seating, fire blockers for upholstered furniture in high-risk occupancies

• Filter media: High capacity, high efficiency, high temperature bag house air filters.

Conclusion

high temperature bag house air filters. Conclusion High performance fibres and high temperature resistant
high temperature bag house air filters. Conclusion High performance fibres and high temperature resistant

High performance fibres and high temperature resistant fibres offer numerous advantages over traditional fibres. Higher strength, lighter weight, higher operating temperatures and flame-retardant ability are some of the most prominent features of these fibres. These outstanding properties create opportunities to manufacture products that historically could not be made due to technical constraints. The protective clothing area is one of those markets.

High performance fibres allow companies to enter niche markets, which typically provide higher profits as well as strong barriers to entry for the competition. Even in the high performance area, many markets have become "commodity" applications, particularly them Melamine in protective clothing, specifically fire resistance. The protective clothing market will continue to bring new opportunities for high performance fibres as the fibre manufacturers expand their current product lines as well as create new and exciting specialised materials.

Having only recently been introduced, Melamine has a limited range, but rapidly growing, of on-going applications. Potential looks promising for this high performance, low cost fibre to find its way into a number of existing areas, especially as processing difficulties are overcome

areas, especially as processing difficulties are overcome Heat Dimensional Stability (A) Basofil (B) Para-aramid (C)

Heat Dimensional Stability

difficulties are overcome Heat Dimensional Stability (A) Basofil (B) Para-aramid (C) Meta-aramid (D) Rayon (E)

(A) Basofil (B) Para-aramid (C) Meta-aramid (D) Rayon (E) Polyester (F) Modacrylic

By Vasant R Kothari, Assistant Professor, NIFT, Bangalore (Author can be contacted @ www.vasantkothari.com)

APPAREL VIEWS / NOVEMBER 2011

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