When looking to buy fire retardant foam, it helps to understanding what fire retardant means.

According to Wikipedia,

A fire retardant is a substance that is used to slow or stop the spread of fire or reduce its intensity. This is commonly accomplished by chemical reactions that reduce the flammability of fuels or delay their combustion.[1][2] Fire retardants may also cool the fuel through physical action or endothermic chemical reactions. Fire retardants are available as powder, to be mixed with water, as fire-fighting foams and fire-retardant gels. Fire retardants are also available as coatings or sprays to be applied to an object.[3]

Fire retardants are commonly used in fire fighting, where they may be applied aerially or from the ground.

We recently introduced the XP-18UL fire retardant XLPE to the market this month.This got us to thinking.

Does the average consumer understand that there is a difference between fire resistant, flame resistant and flame retardant these are three different things.

We have already defined fire retardant, in this article, we’ll outline the difference between the other two so you can be sure to follow guidelines and stay safe!

  • Flame resistant foam are made from materials that are inherently nonflammable – the materials have flame resistance built into their chemical structures. Fabrics made with these types of materials are designed to prevent the spread of fire and will not melt or drip when in close proximity to a flame. Because flame resistant fabrics are not usually made from 100% flame resistant materials, they will burn, but will do so very, very slowly and are often self-extinguishing.
  • Flame retardant foams are chemically treated to be slow burning or self-extinguishing when exposed to an open flame. These fabrics can be made from any material, but they must be treated with special chemicals to qualify as flame retardant.

The biggest difference between flame resistant and flame retardant fabrics lies in how each is made. Without a special chemical application, a fabric will not qualify as flame retardant. Similarly, without being made of certain nonflammable fibers, a fabric will not quality as fire resistant.

When shopping for fire-safe fabrics, more often than not you will come across flame retardant textiles. These are cheaper and easier to produce than flame resistant fabrics and are often made of treated polyester or cotton.

XP-18UL is a 1.8lb density, chemically crosslinked fire retardant closed cell foam. Compliant with UL 94 HF-1 testing standard, XP-18UL is an ideal material for applications where a self-extinguishing or slow burn rating is required.

National Fire Safety Standards

The National Fire Protection Agency developed a set of standards for determining the fire safety of a textile or fabric, known as NFPA 701: Standard Methods of Fire Tests for Flame Propagation of Textiles and Films. Although NFPA 701 itself is not a law, many local and state governments do require that textiles used in public spaces comply with it.

Fire Safety Standards

What does NFPA 701 address?
Two distinct test methods differentiate fabrics of different densities. The test methods apply to textile materials used in interior furnishing for public occupancy buildings including curtains, window shades, draperies, table linens, textile wall hangings, as well as to fabrics used in the assembly of awnings, tents, tarps and other similar architectural fabric structures and banners. – NFPA

At Worldwide Foam we manufacturer and distribute fire retardant foam.

Fire Retardant Foam

We feature fire retardant (FR) foams that meet the FAR 25.853 specification than other FR foam manufacturer.

XP-18UL is currently available in 4”x39”x79” bun size, in a charcoal color.

In addition to the UL 94 HF-1 compliant foam, most of our XLPE and Zotefoams materials pass the FMVSS-302 motor vehicle specification. This standard measures the horizontal burn rate of materials that will be used in the occupant compartments of motor vehicles.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions, or would like to request a free sample of XP-18UL!

These foams are always in stock and we can provide certification to the FAR 25.853 specification.

We also have industrial foam including flame & fire resistant & retardant foam. Available as silicone foam in closed cell, commercial & F 12 grades in thicknesses ranging from 1/16 in. to 1 in. & dimensions of 36 in. x 36 in. (W x L) with nominal densities of 12 lbs./cu. ft. Commercial grade silicone foam is flexible light density material with smooth skin on both sides. Silicone foam is flame-retardant, self-extinguishing & can withstand 2100 degrees F flame for more than 10 minutes without burning. Silicone foam is non-corrosive for use with metals & in hostile environment. Applications include aviation, mass transit, automotive industries, electronics, construction, furniture, fireblocks, thermal barriers, noise & vibration dampeners, insulation & high-performance gaskets or seals. Silicone foam meets UL® 94 VO rating.

Advantages of Worldwide Foam FR Closed Cell Foam / Fire Retardant Foam

  • Stable and inert
  • Flame retardant
  • High strength-to-weight ratio from cross-linked resin
  • Resistant to most chemicals and solvents
  • Easily shaped with common woodworking tools
  • Performs well as wood replacement
  • Will not support fungal growth

Always remember, Fire Retardant does not mean fire proof.

Prolonged exposure to a flame will cause any polyurethane foam to burn. Polyurethane foam is an organic material, just like wood or cotton fabric. ASTM E84 Class I fire retardant foam means that foam has been tested by Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL) for flame spread and smoke development, according to the ASTM E-84 tunnel test for surface burning characteristics.

Most major building code authorities consider Class I foam to meet these parameters: Flame spread <25 and smoke developed <450.

What does this all mean?

It means that it is very important to apply only E84 Class 1 insulation inside your homes walls because while it will not stop a fire, it will help give you time to get out of the house. It also means that all insulation should be covered by a 15 minute fire-barrier in living spaces of the foam, like 1/2″ drywall.

Worldwide Foam wishes you to have safe retrofit manufacturing, distribution center(s) and happy end-users. That is why our Closed Cell Foam, Slow Rise Closed Cell Foam, and our Dual Purpose Open Cell Foams are all ASTM E84 Class 1 fire retardant.

We are the only company on the market that assures that any FR foam you would use from Worldwide Foam inside your business, products, or home meets the requirements for fire retardant insulation to keep everyone safe!


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