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Space blankets, also known as mylar blankets, are helpful tools for various emergency and daily uses. You can find space blankets in emergency survival kits, high-tech devices, and anywhere that benefits from the material used to prevent heat transfer.
Space blankets are highly flammable due to the material used to construct them. A tiny spark or high temperature can cause the blankets to catch on fire, burning through the material quickly and causing a dangerous fire hazard.
This article will take you through why space blankets are so flammable, how to prevent fire hazards by using the blankets safely, and some other uses for the tools.
What Makes Space Blankets Flammable?
What makes space blankets flammable is that the mylar material used to make the blankets is highly combustible. Small sparks of flame and temperatures above a certain level can ignite a space blanket to create a fast-burning fire.
That material makes these blankets the perfect tools for reducing convection to keep people and things warm or cool, depending on the need. The scientifically chosen materials work together to create a unique product that can either trap heat or reflect heat, as you’ll read next.
How Space Blankets Are Made
Space blankets were first made by NASA in the 1960s using a similar production process that is used today. Now, the blankets are made using three thin sheets of material laid on top of each other, but the production process is different depending on what it’s used for.
The material used to make a space blanket is called mylar, so they’re often referred to as mylar blankets. Mylar, a material made out of polyethylene terephthalate, acts as a barrier for moisture, oil, heat, and more.
To make a space blanket, you start with a thin sheet of plastic like PET film coated with a reflective, metallic material. By coating the film, it becomes a metalized polyethylene terephthalate (MPET). The film is usually gold or silver, which is essential for it to reflect heat.
Some space blankets, like these emergency thermal blankets, use an aluminum coating as the reflective material.
How To Prevent Fire Hazards With Space Blankets
Because space blankets are so flammable, it’s crucial to use them as directed to prevent fires. The blankets will burn if they come into contact with a flame or material above 500℉ (260°C). Even tiny sparks can make the blankets combust.
Preventing fire hazards with space blankets is simple as long as you only use them as directed and closely follow instructions to keep them away from flames and high heat. This is especially important if you have a space blanket inside a home or building, as the fast-burning fire can spread quickly from the blankets and onto other flammable materials in a home.
If you find yourself in a situation where a space blanket catches fire, it’s important to follow fire safety precautions to make sure everyone evacuates the area safely. Find an exit, stay low to the ground, and test doorknobs and handles for heat before opening a door, as there may be a fire on the other side.
Always remember the “Stop, drop, and roll” rule. However, the best preparation for a fire is to avoid it entirely by being cautious around flammable objects like space blankets.
What Are the Uses of Space Blankets?
Space blankets have a variety of uses, like keeping you shielded from heat, wind, and water, and keeping heat inside the blanket in the case of hypothermia or temperature changes. They’re also used to signal to aircraft or people far away, as they can reflect sunlight to produce a flash of light.
Mylar blankets are known for their versatility.
Marathon runners are often given space blankets after a long race to prevent fast body temperature changes. They’re often added to emergency kits because they take up very little space when placed in a compact bag, like these Campizo 4 Pack Emergency Blankets (available on Amazon.com).
- Compact Emergency Blanket
- Versatile Mylar Blankets
- Each 7x5 foot Foil blanket is 25% bigger than a normal blanket
- High-Grade Material
You can even cook food by putting a space blanket in the sun.
Emergency Uses of Space Blankets
It’s essential to use space blankets correctly to manage an emergency.
For example, as these Swiss Safe Mylar Space Blankets from Amazon.com advertise, you can wrap a mylar blanket around a person to keep them warm and retain up to 90% of the person’s body heat. The airtight foil prevents convection while the reflective surface reduces heat loss by perspiration and thermal radiation.
The benefit of mylar blankets is that they’re helpful in various weather conditions, as you can see with these Grabber All-Weather Blankets (available on Amazon.com).
In the case of overheating due to hot climates, the blankets shouldn’t be wrapped around the person because the body heat gets trapped inside. Instead, you should place the blanket in an area where it can reflect sunlight, keeping the person cool and shady.
Can You Use Space Blankets to Create an Emergency Fire?
You can use space blankets to create an emergency signal fire because of their flammability. Not many people know about this emergency use of a space blanket, but they’re the perfect resource if you’re in a bind and need a signal fire or a fire to keep warm.
To make a fire using a space blanket, it’s best to rip off pieces of the material to save most of the blanket for later use. Wrap the small parts of material into a shape similar to a bird’s nest. Then, a spark from flint or lighter can ignite the ball of mylar blanket to keep warm or create a signal fire.
Space blankets are highly flammable and can ignite from proximity to a flame spark or temperatures over 500℉ (260°C). Preventing fires is possible by keeping the blankets in a safe area, avoiding using them near flames, and following instructions.
The blankets are a helpful resource for a variety of uses:
- Preventing hypothermia
- Keeping cool in hot climates
- Starting a signal fire
- Cooking food
- Industrial insulation
Keeping a space blanket in your car, home, camping gear, or first aid kit is an excellent idea to prepare for any emergency.
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Here are some of my favorite van life essentials:
Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it helpful as you’re experiencing your life on the road. Here are some tools and gadgets I use on a daily basis that made my van life a lot easier. I hope you’ll also find them as useful as me. These are affiliate links, so if you do decide to purchase any of them, I’ll earn a commission.
But in all honesty, these are the exact tools that I use and recommend to everyone, even my closest friends and family.
Kitchen: I’m cooking a lot and I’ve finally found my perfect cookware set: The Magma Cookware 10 Pcs that you can nests and store in less than 1/2 cubic foot of cabinet space is really handy. Since I’m also spending a lot of time working at my desk, I use my favorite coffee mug from Yeti. For more, check my list of kitchen accessories I can’t live without.
Outdoor: Even though I’m spending a lot of time in my van working, I do enjoy getting out and explore my ever-changing neighborhood. This sometimes requires me to take my portable solar battery with me. And when I just want to chill outside and take a nap, I use the Winner Outfitters Hammock.
Clean/Tidy: Space is precious and therefore I used these heavy-duty storage bins from Homs to store my material. They’re robust and you can stack them together. Regarding showering, I like to use this portable solar shower from Advanced Elements when it’s hot outside.
To see all of my most up-to-date recommendations about van life, check out this resource that I made for you!