Effect of softener and wetting agent on improving the flammability, comfort, and mechanical properties of flame-retardant finished cotton fabric

Ka po Maggie Tang, Chi Wai Kan, Jin tu Fan, Sai leung Tso

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Cotton, a commonly used textile material, tends to burn easily. For some specific end-uses, flame-retardant (FR) properties are required. However, this kind of finish tends to worsen the hand feel and strength of the fabric. This study explored the feasibility of applying softener and wetting agent during flame-retardant treatment of cotton fabrics to improve their comfort and mechanical properties. Here, flame-retardant agent Pyrovatex CP New, crosslinking agent Knittex CHN, and phosphoric acid were combined with various softeners and wetting agent, and applied to the fabrics using a pad–dry–cure process. Fabric combustibility was evaluated by 45° flammability test. The thermal decomposition behavior and chemical structure of the samples were characterized by thermogravimetric analysis and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, respectively. The thermophysiological comfort properties, hand, and mechanical properties of the fabrics were additionally measured. The results demonstrated that FR-treated cotton specimens had lower strength and poor fabric hand and wettability, which might be caused by formation of crosslinks due to the acidic reaction condition and high curing temperature. Meanwhile, softener addition could compensate for these drawbacks and remarkably improve fabric hand and strength. On the other hand, addition of wetting agents could improve the flame resistance of the FR-treated fabrics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2619-2634
Number of pages16
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017


  • Comfort
  • Flame retardant
  • Low-stress mechanical properties
  • Softener
  • Strength
  • Wetting agent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Polymers and Plastics

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