Conventional flame retardant (FR) application processes for textiles involve aqueous processing which is resource-intensive in terms of energy and water usage. Recent research using sol-gel and layer-by-layer chemistries, while claimed to be based on more environmentally sustainable chemistry, still require aqueous media with the continuing problem of water management and drying processes being required. This paper outlines the initial forensic work to characterise commercially produced viscose/flax, cellulosic furnishing fabrics which have had conferred upon them durable flame retardant (FR) treatments using a novel, patented atmospheric plasma/Ultraviolet (UV) excimer laser facility for processing textiles with the formal name Multiplexed Laser Surface Enhancement (MLSE) system. This system (MTIX Ltd., Huddersfield, UK) is claimed to offer the means of directly bonding of flame retardant precursor species to the component fibres introduced either before plasma/UV exposure or into the plasma/UV reaction zone itself; thereby eliminating a number of wet processing cycles. Nine commercial fabrics, pre-impregnated with a semi-durable, proprietary FR finish and subjected to the MLSE process have been analysed for their flame retardant properties before and after a 40 °C 30 min water soak. For one fabric, the pre-impregnated fabric was subjected to a normal heat cure treatment which conferred the same level of durability as the plasma/UV-treated analogue. Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and limiting oxygen index (LOI) were used to further characterise their burning behaviour and the effect of the treatment on surface fibre morphologies were assessed. Scanning electron microscopy indicated that negligible changes had occurred to surface topography of the viscose fibres occurred during plasma/UV excimer processing.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited