A silicone elastomer with modified ATH provides fire safety for furniture and retains aesthetic and mechanical performance. The backcoating was prepared by mixing 35% silicone elastomer base (Dow) and Pt-catalyst (for cross-linking) with 65% vinyl-silane modified ATH (aluminium tri hydroxide), then applying manually to the back side of the velvet cotton fabric and curing at 80°C. Untreated cotton and PIN FR back-coated cotton were tested for fire performance, touch and mechanical properties, and also fire tested in full-scale chairs with four cushions of polyurethane foam covered with the fabrics. In microscale combustion calorimetry, the PIN backcoated cotton showed nearly no heat release, whereas the untreated cotton showed peak heat release of c. 150 W/g and the polyurethane foam nearly 600 W/g. The mock-up chairs showed peak heat release rate around six times lower with PIN backcoated cotton, when ignited by an open flame (18 kW burner). With a smouldering cigarette, the PIN backcoated chair did not smoulder nor ignite, whereas the untreated chair smouldered for over an hour and then transitioned to a flaming fire. The backcoating reduced air permeability of the cotton to zero, multiplied flexural rigidity by ten times and considerably increased abrasion resistance, without modifying the feel of the fabric.
“Demonstration of an all-in-one solution for fire safe upholstery furniture: A benign backcoating for smoldering and flame-resistant cover fabrics”, I. Kim et al., Fire and Materials. 2021;1– https://doi.org/17.10.1002/fam.3015