Tests of different furniture textile / batting / foam combinations show that flame retardants can prevent smouldering developing to flaming fire. The materials were mounted as in upholstered furniture with cotton, polyester, blend or FR blend fabric, cotton or polyester batting and three different polyurethane foams (non-FR, FR to FMVSS 302 = automotive standard and FR to BS5852 = UK furniture standard). They were subject to an 11W heater, equivalent to a smouldering cigarette. Samples with BS5852 foam or with FR textile did not develop to flaming fire. Samples with polyester textile and polyester batting did not catch fire because of melt-back, whereas samples with non-FR textile and non-FR or automotive standard foam showed transition to flaming fire. The authors conclude that appropriately flame retarded fabrics or foam prevent the transition from smouldering to flaming fire.
“Studying smoldering to flaming transition in polyurethane furniture subassemblies: Effects of fabrics, flame retardants, and material type”, A. Morgan et al., work funded by North American Flame Retardant Alliance, Fire and Materials. 2020;1–12, https://doi.org/10.1002/fam.2847