Trends in Flame Retardants

Despite their inherent flammability attributes and associated fire hazards. The use and demand for synthetic polymers are rising.

    The successful adoption of polymeric-based materials requires fireproofing. The release of poisonous compounds during polymeric fires is a significant concern. Unwanted fires cause loss of life, damage to health, and untold environmental damages.

    The following strategies disrupt and inhibit the combustion cycle and achieve fire retardancy (FR):

    1) Endothermic reactions: Metal Oxides and Hydroxides function as heat sinks by liberating water, thus preventing materials from reaching the pyrolysis temperature.

    2) Produce more non-flammable by-products and Char. The char functions as a physical barrier that hinders heat and mass transfer. Phosphorous-based FR materials influence the pyrolysis reaction to produce less-flammable gases and more Char

    3) Release more non-flammable gases. Halogen-based materials function by diluting the oxygen concentration in the combustion region. Halogen-based flame retardants provide flame retardancy at lower concentrations. They are being phased out because they release toxic material during fire retardation.

    4) Crete expanded carbonized layer that acts as a barrier for heat transfer from the heat source to the polymer- Boron-based materials such as Borax, Boric acid, Zinc borate, and boron phosphate form an insulating layer. Exposure to heat results in expandable graphite flakes (EGF) expanding like an accordion up to 100 times their original thickness. EGF generates a more significant insulative layer than many traditional FRs.

    Using more than 15 % by weight of FR materials results in good fire retardancy at the cost of mechanical properties. Combining two or more FR materials helps in broadening the fire-retardant performance of polymers. For example, one FR compound may reduce heat release, the other reduces smoke, and the third produces Char. Combining nano and conventional materials helps to address performance tradeoffs.

    Expandable graphite flakes (EGF) are being explored for achieving FR properties. On exposure to heat, EGF expands like an accordion up to 100 times its original thickness. EGF generates a more significant insulate layer than many traditional intumescents. The char formed from EGF imparts superior heat resistance.

    To achieve superior FR properties, it is crucial to bring together various materials and create synergies For example combining micron and nano-size materials. ChemPrise has experience understanding and quantifying the links between material structure and addressing property tradeoffs. We have in-depth and comprehensive knowledge of material properties, risks, costs, and regulations. Our vision to address long-term societal impacts guides us in creating sustainable FR materials.


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