Flame resistant, flame retardant, fire rated – there are many terms in use to describe a cable that can withstand the resultant high temperatures of fire. But in this piece, we throw clarity on what distinguishes one type of cable from another.
Both flame retardant and flame-resistant cables have been used for the same eventuality, but they behave very differently in the event of a fire outbreak. In this piece, we’ve jotted answers to common questions you may have in your mind about these cables. Reading through them will help you understand the difference between the two types of cables, their uses and how they would greatly improve the safety of everyone involved in an emergency situation.
How is the construction of flame retardant cables different from flame resistant cables?
Flame retardant cables have been treated with chemicals to slow down or prevent the spread of fires. On the other hand, flame resistant cables are made of inherently non-flammable materials.
How do flame retardant vs flame resistant cables work to contain fires?
The chemicals in flame retardant cables work by suppressing or extinguishing flames when they come into contact with fire. While flame resistant cables are designed to resist fire and high temperatures by forming a protective barrier that prevents them from burning or melting.
What is the main difference between flame retardant and flame resistant cables?
The stark difference between flame-retardant and fire resistive cables is that the former resists the spread of fire into a new area, whereas the latter are designed to maintain circuit integrity and continue to work for a specific time even under a fire. These circuit integrity cables can operate in the presence of a fire for an hour or two and are accordingly referred to as 1- or 2-hour fire-rated cables. The differences between these ratings are essentially the time required for maintaining circuit integrity and conducting life safety operations.
Where are flame retardant vs flame resistant cables used for?
The 2-hour fire-resistant cables are designed for emergency power circuits in fire pumps and emergency generators. They are also widely used in building complexes and public spaces such as schools, hospitals, retail complexes, underground and overground transport stations to enhance safety during a fire.
Flame retardant being low smoke and fume cables are designed and tested to resist flame propagation and spread. As they prevent high-toxic smoke and acid gas generation, they can be used in places wherever fire safety is essential.
What are fire rated or fire resistive cables?
Fire-resistive or fire-rated cable are cables that continue to operate even in the presence of a fire. They are commonly known as circuit integrity (CI) cables which are generally 2-hour fire-rated.
Is a flame-retardant cable also fire-rated?
No, a flame-retardant cable is not a fire-rated cable. A flame-retardant cable is designed only to restrict the spread of a fire by inhibiting combustion, while fire-resistive cables maintain circuit integrity and continue to work for a specific time under defined conditions of a fire.
We hope these FAQS have brought more clarity to understand the role of fire performance cables. Both flame retardant and flame-resistant cables have their own unique advantages and disadvantages, and the choice between them ultimately depends on the specific application and fire safety requirements. Overall, as these cables increase safety, lessen fire damage to structures or equipment and provide more time to get away from a fire they are suitable for usage in confined areas with large population densities.
Electric Way is your reliable electrical cable supplier in Dubai for sourcing all kinds of fire performance cables. We offer a full selection of cables to meet various application needs. Send us your inquiry to ensure that you receive the best deal.