There is a wide range of flame resistant fabrics to choose from when making your choice of a flame resistant material. When trying to decide which fabric to buy, there are a lot of factors to consider. It is important to get the right fabric for the job at hand. If the job involves working around flammable materials, buying a firefighting ensemble does not make much sense. The thickness of the material will hinder movement and cause the wearer to become uncomfortable. On the other hand, someone dealing with an open flame on a regular basis will need much more protection than a set of non treated cotton coveralls will provide. Choosing the perfect balance of protection and comfort is the key.
One of the more popular flame resistant fabrics is Nomex. Many people know the Nomex name due to its association with the oil and petroleum, military and auto racing. However, Nomex comes in a variety of thicknesses and textures and is applicable to a wide variety of jobs. The Nomex Industrial line comes in three variations, Nomex IIIA, Nomex AP and Nomex Limitedwear. Nomex AP provides protection from burns that are commonly received as a result of electrical arc fires. It meets Hazard / Risk Category 2 arc protection standards. Nomex Limitedwear provides protection from flash fires and, while it is washable, it is only designed to be worn for limited periods. The Nomex IIIA fabric is the most popular as is has a static dissipative and is available in both a 4.5 oz and a 6.0 oz weight fabric.
Another popular choice is Excel flame resistant cotton and Comfortouch garments. The cotton garments are made of a 100% cotton fabric treated with a phosphonium salt precondensate that has been polymerized with gaseous ammonia or a heat-cured dialkylphosphonamide to provide protection from flame. The Comfortouch garments are made of a blend of 88% cotton and 12% nylon that has received the same treatments as the 100% cotton fabrics. The treatment has little effect on the fabric's texture, breathability, or movement. The cotton fibers are resistant to alkalis and a majority of solvents, but acids can damage the cotton fibers. The nylon fibers allow the Comfortouch fabric to be more resistant to abrasion and will provide a slightly longer garment life.
Other manufacturers offer garments made of identical cotton and cotton / nylon blend fabrics. And although the fabrics have different names, they have received something the same treatment as mentioned above. The blended fabric put out by Indura is known as Indura Ultra Soft and the Banox blend goes by the name Banwear. The available styles of garments vary between the manufacturers, but the fabrics used are very similar.