What are Fire Curtains Made From?

Updated: Apr 21

Active Fire and Smoke Curtains are constructed from woven fibreglass strands.

But why fibreglass and what are the main benefits?

Fiberglass is a material made of glass fibers woven into a texture that causes it to trap pockets of air. The resultant fabric has high thermal insulation properties and low density[1]

Glass fibres can be divided into two categories which, based on their geometric properties, best decide their application. Continuous fibres can be utilised for yarn and textile use, while short/ discontinuous fibres, are best utilised for the construction of blankets or boards for insulation or filtration purposes. [1]

The use of fibreglass dates as far back as the Renaissance, when it was used for decorative purposes, and glass fibres have continued to be popular with their multitude of purposes increasing alongside demand, from dressmaking, with the creation of a dress for a theatre star and Spanish princess being created by the American glassmaker Edward Libbey, of the Libbey Glass Company, in the late 1890s,[2] to more modern uses for insulation, and moulding boat hulls or car exteriors.

Image of Georgia Cayvan, an actress, in the Libbey fibreglass dress.

Image of Georgia Cayvan in the Libbey fibreglass dress.

Glass fibres are created from combining and melting a mix of silica dioxide( SiO₂) and other natural or manufactured chemicals, which are generally chosen for their advantageous properties, for example, to resist corrosion, have an increased melting point, or to improve durability.[4] These additional chemicals will depend on the potential use for the finished fibreglass, as the benefits of specific kinds of fibreglass come from their chemical make-up.

A worker stoking a furnace, wearing a hard hat, goggles, and gloves.

Once the raw materials have been melted in a furnace, the ‘molten glass must be kept at a higher temperature, about 1,371°C, than other types of glass (,) to be formed into fibre.[5] From here, the glass fibres can be formed in a variety of methods, including:

  • extrusion through a spinneret [6] (below), or bushing, similar, in principle to the idea of extruding pasta or noodles.

An example spinneret

  • Continuous-filament process, a process involving drawing still- molten strands onto a winder, which is then wrapped onto tubes. This can then go on to be twisted and plied into yarn. [7]

Molten fiberglass being twisted into yarn, that is then wrapped around a tube or large bobbin.

The thermal insulation property of fiberglass makes it a useful fabric in applications that need a thermal barrier and a high level of temperature resistance.[8]

Adexon® Fire and Smoke Curtains

Adexon® Fire Curtains are constructed from woven fibreglass, and can resist temperatures of up to 1,100°C. The double-sided coating of specially formulated fire-retardant, aluminium pigmented polyurethane guarantees mechanical stability during the construction and installation process, improving durability and abrasion resistance, alongside high-temperature resistance and heat-reflecting properties.

The Active Fire and Smoke Curtain fabric and all seams are then woven with reinforced stainless-steel wires, due to their increased corrosive resistance, higher tensile strength, and increased fatigue resistance. These wires are coated in Kevlar.

Kevlar is aramid fibre, classified as being a man-made high-performance fibre, originally designed for military applications. ‘It is extremely strong and lightweight, with resistance toward corrosion and heat. It is used in vast applications such as aerospace engineering (such as the body of the aircraft), body [armour], bulletproof vests, car brakes, and boats,’[9] and can be applied to a wide range of products as a coating.

Stainless steel and glass fire exit door with a Fire Curtain fitted above.

The bespoke design and boundless application of Adexon® Active Fire and Smoke curtains mean they can provide fire and smoke protection for any project that requires it. The configuration range includes:

  • ADEXON- FC120e (Vertical, 120-minutes Integrity-rated)

  • ADEXON-FC120ei (Vertical, 120-minute Integrity and Insulation-rated)

  • ADEXON- FC120ew (Vertical, 120-minute Integrity and Radiation- rated)

  • ADEXON-FC120e (Concertina)

  • ADEXON-FC120e (Horizontal)

  • ADEXON-SC180d (Smoke Curtain)

The different performance types of Fire and Smoke curtains can have additional coatings to ensure increased radiation factors, for example, the ADEXON-FC120ew is layered with aluminium foil to reduce radiation emission to less than 15 kW/ m2.K, at a distance of 1m from the fabric, by reflecting the heat.

The ADEXON- FC120ei however utilises sprinkler systems to stop heat passing through the curtain, instead of an additional coating or foil.

This specialist fabric, coupled with the use of galvanised stainless steel for components such as the roller, headbox, side guides and bottom bar, renowned for its ability to resist rusting and degradation, while retaining high ductile strength, ensures that the Adexon® Active Fire and Smoke curtain range is able to meet appropriate fire safety requirements and prolong the lifetime of the building, protecting inhabitants and the building envelope from the harmful effects of fire and smoke.


[1] Azom.com, ‘A Guide to Fiberglass Fabrics,’ <https://www.azom.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=15312> 03.12.2021

[2] Madehow.com, 'Fibreglass,' <http://www.madehow.com/Volume-2/Fiberglass.html#ixzz7DbTb8zjv>03.12.2021

[3] LindaBorromeo, blog ‘A Spanish Princess, a Glass Dress, and a Creative Gamble,’ published 05.08.2018 <https://www.lindaborromeo.com/post/2017/08/04/a-spanish-princess-a-glass-dress-and-a-creative-gamble> 03.12.2021

[4] Image from Pexels.com, courtesy of Kateryna Babaieva.

[5] Madehow.com, ‘Fibreglass,’ volume 2 <http://www.madehow.com/Volume-2/Fiberglass.html#ixzz7DbiaDJmV> 07.12.2021

[6] Image from Textiles World, ‘Little Holes with a big Impact,’ published 21st February 2017, <https://www.textileworld.com/textile-world/features/2017/02/little-holes-with-a-big-impact/> 08.12.2021. Copyright © ITCF Denkendor.

[7] Image from Princelund.com, ‘Glass Fiber Differences and Properties,’ <https://www.princelund.com/glass-fiber.html>29.11.2021

[8] Azom.com, ‘A Guide to Fiberglass Fabrics,’ <https://www.azom.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=15312> 03.12.2021

[9] ScienceDirect.com, ‘Kevlar,’ <https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/kevlar>29.11.2021

Cover Image from Pexels.com, courtesy of gdtography

0 views0 comments