Review suggests that AI could enable design of cost-effective and safe new PIN FRs and underlines need for LCA. The review notes that PIN FRs are recognised as more environmentally friendly than halogenated FRs but that for some PIN FR types more data is needed to avoid persistency and toxicity issues. Machine learning has been applied to design of gas membranes and plastic depolymerisation and could be used for PIN FR design if more data was available concerning heat release and steric effects of chemical groups in different PIN FR – polymer matrices. In particular, FR development must target efficiency with low loadings in polymers, to reduce cost and impacts on polymer properties. Further data is also needed on persistence and toxicity of breakdown products. Bio-sourced materials, such as cellulose, phytic acid, chitin can potentially provide bio-sourced C, P and N, so improving PIN FR Life Cycle Analysis. LCA should also take into account end-of-life (recycling) and impacts on smoke toxicity.
“Rethinking the pathway to sustainable fire retardants”, J. Feng et al., Exploration 2023;3:20220088, https://doi.org/10.1002/EXP.20220088