A house fire is devastating. When curtains and other home textiles catch fire, the consequences can be horrific. So how can these textiles be prevented from catching fire in the first place? Which material is best suited for this task? Textile manufacturer Trevira from Bobingen in Swabia answered these questions in 1980 with an innovation: flame-retardant polyester fibers. The chemical structure of these synthetic fibers is what makes the difference. The properties are firmly anchored in the fiber in the form of a “comonomer”, an organophosphorus compound. In a fire, these textiles do not burst into flames as quickly as other threads. As soon as the source of the fire has been removed, the fire on the textiles goes out by itself. The flame-retardant properties cannot be washed out, nor are they lost through ageing or use.
Fire prevention in textiles: Trevira CS
Research into polyester fibers was already being conducted back in the late 1920s: the first experiments were carried out by US chemist Wallace H. Carothers for the company DuPont. In 1939, British scientists continued his work and developed the first polyester fiber in 1941. In Germany, the company Hoechst began producing polyester staple fibers in 1954. The flame- retardant fibers finally brought onto the market in 1980 under the trademark Trevira CS were a pivotal development – for the company Trevira, but also because of stricter regulations and increasing consumer safety demands.
According to the company, the fibers are certified to Oeko-Tex Standard 100, which means they contain only very small amounts of harmful substances. In addition to home textiles, the fibers are used in the vehicle construction and aviation industries, among others. In 1982, Trevira won the Innovationspreis der deutschen Wirtschaft Innovation Award of German Industry
(Image: Aleksandra Medvedeva)