Understanding Flame retardant fabrics – Nomex, Cantex and Proban

The structure of fibres in flame retardant fabrics save livesNomex®, Cantex® or Proban®?

When choosing your protective clothing there are three major types of fabric* that you will need to consider. Each of these brands has a different manufacturing process and a variety of different beneficial properties. This means that each is more applicable depending on the industry and therefore the situations the wearer may encounter.


Nomex® is the trademarked name for a type of fire retardant clothing that was developed and then marketed by the DuPont Company in the early 1960s. It is a meta-aramid material, related to nylon it has excellent thermal, chemical and radiation resistance.  The fibre and sheet forms of the material are used in a vast number of applications, from the canopies of concert halls to the wings of the space shuttle. When applied to clothing the honeycomb structures are saturated with Phenolic resin to further increase their resistance to high heat. Nomex® is an intelligent flame-resistant fibre: it thickens when exposed to intense heat, creating a protective barrier between the heat source and the wearer’s skin.

Nomex Coveralls, Jackets, trousers and more


Cantex® is a new flame retardant fabric. Consisting of an inherent flame retardant fibre, pure cotton and a carbon fibre, this combination creates, in addition to high flame retardant capability, added comfort & anti-static protection.

Cantex® garments have been especially developed for electricians and the power industry, for workers who come close to molten metal and for industries where static electricity must be avoided. Cantex® is especially useful in industries that may encounter electrical arcs as discussed in previous weeks

Cantex Protective Clothing Range

Here’s a video showing Cantex in action >>  http://youtu.be/-r1K7WAN_H8

* When is a flame retardant fabric not a fabric? When it’s treated with Proban®

Unlike the first two, Proban® is a chemical that can be applied to other fibres and blends to make them flame retardant.  This means that Proban® can be used not only for industrial and military applications but across many civilian industries including hotels, public buildings, hospitals, nursing homes, anywhere fires are a risk. When treated fibres are exposed to flame they form a localized insulating char that stays in place to help protect the wearer.

Hopefully that makes some sense!  We’ve tried to not get too technical but if you’re lost then please contact us with any questions by emailing info@theworkclothinggroup.com or calling 01635 527300

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6 Responses to Understanding Flame retardant fabrics – Nomex, Cantex and Proban

  1. ghilardotti says:

    Why did you speak about Nomex® and Cantex® fabrics, but you didn’t consider Kermel®?

  2. ghilardotti says:

    I know Kermel® is a French product and some european manufacturers use it, but I don’t know if it is cheaper or expensive than Nomex® or Cantex® fabrics.

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