Posted on 13/01/2023 in Electric & Electronic Building & Construction Transport Furniture & Textiles Fire Safety Recycling 2023
FRs for speciality materials

Jean-Jacques Flat, Arkema

Arkema is looking for sustainable FR solutions with positive LCA, including bio-based, to ensure fire safety whilst maintaining material performance. Flame retardants are needed to enable materials innovation with fire safety in response to societal mega-trends: clean mobility, new energy, insulation, ubiquitous electronics and bio-based materials. Flame retardants need to have safe health and environment profiles, but also to show positive Life Cycle Analysis and recyclability. Arkema is looking for FR solutions which are non-blooming to avoid possible leaching of FRs from products, such as polymeric FRs. A developing demand is for FRs for bio-based polymers, or FRs produced by biological processes. Arkema promotes open research and cooperation to address challenges such as recycling, Life Cycle Analysis and combining fire safety with materials properties and performance.

Arkema is a world leader in speciality materials, created in 2004 from Total’s Chemicals branch, with today 20 000 staff and 150 production plants in 55 countries. Arkema builds on science for innovative materials for a sustainable world. 

Angelo Bottaro, Erdal Karaagac, Gabriel-Chemie

For Gabriel-Chemie, halogen-free is part of the company’s sustainability priorities, so avoiding problem chemicals which can hinder recycling. PIN FRs can ensure fire safety and achieve fire performance standards in demanding applications such as stadium seating (colour, UV and weathering requirements, as well as demanding fires safety standards), E&E and construction materials (CPR). ATO (antimony trioxide) in particular is considered an obstacle to recycling because of health and environment questions. A new development from Gabriel-Chemie is a halogen-free masterbatch for electrical conduits, enabling compliance to FR norm EN 61386, to Low Smoke IEC 61304-2 and to Halogen Free standard EN 50642. The company underlines the importance of active cooperation with end-user customers and FR and polymer producers to develop new solutions.

Gabriel-Chemie, founded 1956, is an Austrian specialist masterbatch producer with nine production sites across Europe and over 500 employees. The company develops and produces masterbatches with flame retardants, fillers, antistatic, UV stabilisers, colours, processing and performance additives, in particular for polyolefins and polystyrenes. Services also include formulation advice, technical support and laboratory testing. The company is world leader in stadium seat FR masterbatches. See also pinfa Newsletter n°109 and n°88. 

Peter Kornas, BÜFA

BÜFA is specialised in high performance flame retardant solutions, mainly using PIN FRs for reasons of sustainability. Railway applications see strong growth, with demanding requirements for fire resistance and technical performance, and necessarily PIN flame retardant solutions to achieve low smoke – low toxicity. Current PIN FR solutions readily achieve UL 94 V-0 and EN 45545 railway smoke Class 2, but economic solutions for Class 1 or 0 are not available, in particular for liquid, transparent PIN FRs. Water uptake is also a challenge. BÜFA offers lightweight foams based on unsaturated polyester resins, with PIN FRs included into the resin. BÜFA also offers a range of gelcoat PIN FR fire protection solutions, for application to polymers. The innovative one-layer powder-based process enables inclusion of PIN FR, colour and finishing in a single, smooth, clear coating, avoiding grinding and optimising application (materials saving), without emissions during application and without impacting polymer impact performance properties. BÜFA is continuing to look for innovative PIN FR solutions which can simultaneously address ignition, heat release and smoke emission.

BÜFA, established in 1883, is a family-owned SME specialised in chemicals, cleaning products and flame retardant solutions (FR resins, gelcoats: around one third of company turnover). BÜFA supplies in-house developed FR solutions, especially to the automotive, rail, commercial vehicle, energy and construction sectors, with a main focus on non-halogen systems. See also pinfa Newsletters n°124 and n°98. 

Diego Tirelli, Lucia Campanelli, Nuova Sima

Mineral PIN FRs are offering increasing fire performance and loading efficiency with new synergists and specialist mineral solutions for applications such as cables, insulation panels, technical rubbers, roofing membranes. Trace minerals in natural ATH and MDH include silicates which can glassify char, improving fire retardancy. Natural MDH and ATH generate char with less tendency to fall away during combustion, so enabling achievement of demanding CPR (Construction Products Regulation) fire tests. Mineral PIN FRs can act in synergy with other additives, for example nanoclays and phosphorus-based FRs. Natural MDH can also provide a competitive PIN FR solution for high melting temperature polymers, such as polypropylene. Nuova Sima is looking to cooperate with PIN FR and synergist producers and with compounders to develop new performance mineral FR packages.

Nuova Sima has been producing since 1965 engineered calcium and magnesium minerals for plastics, rubbers and paints. The company was the first in the world to produce MDH from natural mined brucite and today also produces natural mined ATH, as well as milled synthetic ATH. Nuova Sima has a capacity of 70 000 t/y of speciality minerals from production site in Italy. 

Filip Kondratowicz, Synthos

Environment and recycling are key for new products at Synthos and non-halogenated FR for polystyrene is under development. The company led innovation in polymeric brominated FRs now seven years ago and is today advancing towards a halogen free FR solution which maintains EPS (expanded polystyrene) insulation and mechanical properties, offers thermal stability in processing and is self-extinguishing. This will respond to tightening requirements on building insulation fire safety and smoke requirements. Synthos is also looking for solutions to recycling recovered EPS and XPS insulations from building deconstruction and renovation. Contamination with other building materials or demolition dusts prevent mechanical recycling. Solutions are needed to remove problematic brominated FRs such as HBCD in particular.

Synthos is a global chemicals company, established in 1945 in Oswiecim, Poland, with today 3 600 employees and 5 production sites across Europe distributing worldwide. The company is the leading producer of EPS (expanded polystyrene) in Europe, a leading producer of and the second product of synthetic rubber globally, including butadiene rubber for tyres.

Lola Guerra, Lubrizol

Sustainability is a key driver for polymer and FR development today, including safety for health in final use and in processing, LCA, recyclability. Lubrizol is also furthering bio-based materials. At the same time, material performance remains essential and FRs must achieve fire safety whilst maintaining material properties and functionalities. Lubrizol particularly looks to ensure that FR solutions are non-leaching and are compatible with material durability, providing lasting fire performance. More sustainable flame retardant solutions often require a combination of several PIN FRs and synergists. Non-migrating, safe for health PIN FRs will often mean moving to polymeric or reactive chemicals.

The Lubrizol Corporation, a Berkshire Hathaway company, is a global specialty chemicals company founded in 1928 with more than 55 years of polymer experience, approx. 8600 staff and over one hundred manufacturing facilities, sales and technical offices worldwide. Lubrizol Engineered Polymers offers a range of performance TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) resins and compounds including flame retardant, chemically resistant, bio-based, light stable, adhesive conductive, high thermoplasticity, high strength, impact resistant….

Daniele Frasca, Lehmann&Voss

Halogen-free flame retardants are developing extensively and innovative PIN FR systems enable applications in many industries, such as the construction and automotive sectors. This responds to increasing demand for low smoke, which is a requirement in many applications. Customers are increasingly looking for new additives for new polymer applications. For some time, Lehmann&Voss has been working on halogen-free flame retardants for transparent applications in polyesters. Customers often require a UL 94 V-0 classification with reasonable loading and a high limiting index oxygen (LOI). Lehmann&Voss has developed a new formulation with a reactive component: the higher degree of reaction delivers higher performances. In addition, many customers are looking for intumescent systems for polyolefins. Lehmann&Voss provides a formulation which generates an effective protective layer between fire and polymer, and shows higher thermal and UV stability and reduced water absorption.

Lehmann&Voss&Co. was established in 1894 as a trading company in Hamburg and is today a trader and distributor of chemical additives and a producer of masterbatches and compounds, with more than 20 years of experience in developing and supplying non-halogenated flame-retardant masterbatches for customers in different applications. Lehmann&Voss&Co with its subsidiaries (LEHVOSS Group) has nearly 600 staff worldwide.

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