Pinfa asked the poster prizewinners at FRPM to express their vision of challenges for fire safety and for flame retardants for tomorrow.
Interest in environmental protection will push demand for recycled and bio-based flame retardants but also to reduce flame retardant loadings. Also, fibre-reinforced composites will continue to develop to reduce the weight of products. The challenge is to develop flame retardants which meet these objectives without impacting mechanical performance, especially for aviation and automotive. Resulting needs for more fire testing may meet obstacles of cost, laboratory capacity and personnel. To meet tomorrow’s fire retardancy challenges, better collaboration is needed between regulators, industry and research. Problems with flame retardants or deviations from fire standards must be reported and addressed.
Sustainability should be tomorrow’s driver. Life Cycle thinking will drive new competitive solutions, beyond current technologies. For fire safety, the challenge is to develop efficient, durable and recyclable fire retarded materials with reduced environmental impact. New scientific knowledge, transferable into technology, can take this forward. Polymers which integrate flame retardant functionalities (chemically bonded as chain side groups) are a solution to the problems of emissions and leaching. However, development of such polymers is very demanding, in order to retain materials physical and mechanical properties. The specific FR mode of action for each particular FR – polymer combination should be the leitmotif for new flame retardant systems. The ideal FR system should provide efficient flame retardancy, low smoke emission and low smoke toxicity. Also, FR synthesis must be sustainable and low toxicity