Generally the stage and theatre curtain fabrics we offer fall into three categories for flame retardancy. Fabrics are tested in accordance with AS 1530 part 2 & 3* and meet the required indices for a class 9b building used as a place of public entertainment, as stipulated by the Building Code of Australia (BCA).
*AS1530.2 & 3 are test procedure and apparatus standards. After materials are tested to these standards, the results from these tests are then computed into factors and indices, which are supplied in a standard report format. We note that several suppliers of fabric and retardants claim that their products meet AS 1530.2 & 3 – be cautious, as any material tested will give a result (untreated paper for example); there is no pass or fail. – The reported test indices must be referenced against an applicable standard or code, in this instance the BCA.
Inherently Flame-retarded (IFR)
Inherently Flame-retarded curtain fabrics have been milled from modified synthetic staple fibres and yarns and do not need additional treatment to achieve the indices required. Fabrics that are classed as inherently flame-retardant are permanently flame retarded and flame retardance is unaffected by wetting. Most IFR fabrics are dimensionally stable and may be carefully laundered (depending upon curtain construction).
Durably Flame-retarded (DFR)
Durably Flame-retarded curtain fabrics are chemically treated, normally at the time the fabric is being finished. Flame retardancy is permanent and fabrics may be wetted without effecting flame retardancy, however dry cleaning is generally recommended for such fabrics to minimise the risk of shrinkage.
Non Durably Flame-retarded (NDFR)
Non Durably Flame-retarded curtain fabrics are chemically treated with a water soluble solution. All fabrics classed as NDFR will withstand at least 5 water free dry cleaning cycles without effecting flame retardancy. If fabrics are wetted in any way, it is essential to retreat the fabric to meet flammability requirements. Retreatment may also be required after multiple cleanings or after a period of use in a high humidity environment.
Not Flame-retardant (Not FR)
These fabrics are NOT flame-retarded.
Most untreated natural, synthetic and blended curtain fabrics can be flame retarded. Many natural and some synthetic fabrics, once treated, will meet BCA requirements for flame retardancy. Generally, the chemicals used are water soluble.