Melamine Fiber: Properties, Production and Uses

Last Updated on 15/12/2022

What is Melamine Fiber?
Melamine fiber is a manufactured fiber in which the fiber-forming substance is a synthetic polymer composed of at least 50% by weight of a cross-linked melamine polymer. Melamine fiber is a cost effective heat resistant fiber based on melamine chemistry, with a 400°F (200°C) continuous operating temperature. Melamine fibers are flame resistant, have outstanding heat/dimensional stability, and are self-extinguishing. EFT’s WF series of melamine fibers have a fiber length distribution tailored for use in wet-laid nonwovens. Typical fiber lengths are in the 1-12mm range, and they show excellent dispersion and formation in wet-laid processes.

melamine fiber fabric
Fig: Melamine fiber fabric

For example:

Basofil®, a synthetic melamine fiber produced by BASF is the result of a condensation reaction between melamine, a melamine derivative and formaldehyde, which form a three-dimensional network typical of thermosetting resins. From its chemical structure, the fiber has inherited the characteristic properties of melamine/formaldehyde condensation resins such as high temperature and flame resistance, low flammability and chemical resistance.

Basofil is the only commercial member of this recently generated class of melamine fibers. Basofil recently entered the high-temperature fiber market. It’s the newest fiber to be fully commercialized. Based on melamine chemistry, Basofil offers a high operating temperature and a high Limiting Oxygen Index, and typically targets the hot-gas filtration and safety and protective apparel markets. Because of its variable denier and staple length, low tensile strength and difficulty in processing, Basofil is generally blended with stronger fibers such as aramids. It is more often used in needled products, or yarns made from wrapped spinning techniques.

Basofil is useful in commercial aircraft seating, mattress application, firefighter turnout gear, industrial protective clothing, friction parts, and automotive insulation.

A main feature of Basofil fiber for flame barrier applications is its ability to ‘charin-place’ without shrinkage, when exposed to direct flame. Basofil fibers have an elliptical shape and very uniform diameter distribution (94 % within 10 and 20 μ). It is said that this denier distribution contributes to improved thermal insulative performance.

Blends of these melamine fibers with poly-m-phenylenediamine isophthalamide have been developed by Kermel (France) and Dystar. (Germany) for flame retardant military camouflage garments.

Flame Resistance of Melamine Fiber:

Melamine fiber test
Fig: Melamine fiber test

Characteristics of Melamine Fiber:

  1. Chars without shrinking
  2. Naturally flame retardant
  3. Low thermal conductivity
  4. Non-toxic / No VOC release
  5. White and dyeable
  6. Flame resistance and low thermal conductivity
  7. High heat dimensional stability
  8. Processable on standard textile equipment

Typical Properties of Melamine Fiber:

MeasurementUnitsTypical Values
ColorIvory white
Average Diameterµm15
Average Denierg/9000m2.4
Specific Gravity1.4
Tensile Strengthksi36
Elongation at Break%11
Moisture Regain (23°C, 65% RH)%5
Shrinkage at 200°C (1hr exposure)%<1
Limiting Oxygen Index%32
Maximum Continuous Operating Temperature°C200
Melting Temperature°CDoes not melt or drip
Resistance to Mildew, Aging, SunlightExcellent
Resistance to Solvents, AlkalisExcellent

Manufacturing Process of Melamine Fiber:
The production process is proprietary. It is based on a unique melamine chemistry that results in a cross-linked, non-thermoplastic polymer of melamine units joined by methylene and dimethylene ether linkages. In the polymerization reaction, methylol derivatives of melamine react with each other to form a three-dimensional structure. This structure is the basis for the fiber’s heat stability, solvent resistance, and flame resistance.

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Applications of Melamine Fibers:

  1. Mattresses, Home furnishings
  2. Specialty flame resistant papers
  3. Firefighting apparel
  4. Electrical papers
  5. Transmission / friction papers
  6. Filtration media
  7. Engineered materials / Short-fiber composites
  8. Adhesives / Fillers
  9. Tire sealants
  10. Truck / Rail brakes

Besides Melamine fiber has Potential use which are given below:

  • Fire Blocking Fabrics: Aircraft seating, fire blockers for upholstered furniture in high-risk occupancies (e.g., to meet California TB 133 requirements)
  • Protective Clothing: Firefighters’ turnout gear, insulating thermal liners, knit hoods, molten metal splash apparel, heat resistant gloves.
  • Filter Media: High capacity, high efficiency, high temperature baghouse air filters.

You may also like:

  1. Metallic Fiber Types, Characteristics, Uses, Advantages and Disadvantages
  2. Glass Fiber Composites: Properties, Manufacturing and Applications
  3. Kevlar Fiber: Types, Properties, Manufacturing Process and Applications
  4. Aramid Fibers: Types, Properties, Manufacturing Process and Applications
  5. Recent Developments in High Performance Fibers

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