Contribution of nanoclays to the performance of traditional flame retardants in ABS

This article was published on Feb. 2, 2012 in Polymer composites.


The purpose of this study was to investigate contribution of nanoclays to the flame retardancy performance of a traditional brominated flame retardant compound with various combinations of antimony trioxide and zinc borate. The matrix polymer acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) was compounded by melt mixing in a laboratory size twin-screw extruder. X-ray diffraction analysis and transmission electron microscopy revealed that nanoclay silicate layers were mainly intercalated with certain level of exfoliation in ABS matrix. Flammability analysis investigated by mass loss calorimeter, limiting oxygen index, and UL-94 tests indicated that use of nanoclays improved all flame retardancy parameters significantly. For instance, the increase in the limiting oxygen index was up to 32% O2, while the suppression in peak heat release rate value was as much as 82%, of course in each specimen the highest rating of V-0 in UL-94 test was obtained. Thermogravimetric and other residue analyses pointed out that these contributions were especially due to the condensed phase flame retardancy mechanism of nanoclay which contributes stronger and carbonaceous char formation acting as a barrier to heat and flammable gases and retarding volatilization via tortuous pathway.

Fire retardancy behavior of PLA based nanocomposites

This intersting article was published on January 2, 2012 in Polymer Degradation and Stability.


To understand and improve the fire retardancy behavior of polylactic acid, we have incorporated two structurally different additives, sepiolite and organically modified montmorillonite. A novel approach (combination of electrospinning and extrusion/injection molding) is employed to address critical issues like char enhancement as well as the homogeneity/uniformity of the inorganic barrier during combustion of polymer nanocomposites. Fundamental knowledge is gained on the mechanisms of fire retardancy, particularly with samples of different thicknesses (thermally thin versus thermally intermediate/thick). Volumetric imaging of the residues provided a deeper understanding of the formation or the evolution of the inorganic barrier. Considerable insight on the dependency of biodegradation on the environment (primarily) and on the compromising effect of high aspect ratio nanoparticles is also obtained. This knowledge has a broader scientific impact and is critical to design the new generation of eco-benign flame retardant and biodegradable polymer nanocomposites.


Bayer’s First Flame-Retardant PC/ABS

Bayer MaterialScience LLC is debuting a new specialty grade of resin primarily designed for use in the medical market for applications such as diagnostic imaging equipment – computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) scanners; workstations; and kiosks.

Bayblend® M303 FR (Technical sheet)  is a non-reinforced, flame-retardant, amorphous, thermoplastic polymer blend of polycarbonate and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene copolymer (PC/ABS) for extrusion, blow molding and thermoforming. It can be used in surface device applications contacting intact skin. Bayblend M303 FR PC/ABS meets the requirements of ISO 10993-5 (Cytotoxicity) and ISO 10993-10 (Irritation and Sensitization) guidelines.

The material has good chemical and hydrolysis resistance, excellent melt strength for extrusion and deep draw for thermoforming. Naturally opaque, this PC/ABS blend is also available in custom colors.

Bayblend M303 FR resin is the latest grade to join Bayer’s existing portfolio of materials for the medical market. “The addition of Bayblend M303 FR plastic to Bayer’s product offerings continues the history of innovation and proven technical and materials expertise that Bayer offers the medical industry,” says Bruce Fine, market segment leader, Medical and Consumer Products – Polycarbonates, Bayer MaterialScience LLC. (Source: Tech Greedy)

Flame Retardants Industry in China-(2012 report)

Flame retardants have been studied for years for its incomparable function in various products to prevent ignition of fire. At present, flame retardants are mostly applied in plastics and rubber which are used in the manufacture of PCB, electrical & electronics, wire & cable, motor vehicles etc., and textile and coating as well.

China has become a key player of flame retardants both in production and consumption. It can produce most common flame retardants with output of approximately 600,000 tonnes in 2011, and has witnessed domestic consumption almost 400,000 tonnes in 2011, both with CAGR over 15% in the past five years. And along with the global development trend of flame retardants, production and consumption of flame retardants in China is switching to some more eco-friendly products such as PFRs and ATH&MH. However, Chinese producers are still focusing on developing technologies of some secondary products while foreign producers have started the R&D of some up-scaled and specified products.

On another hand, as China is a flame retardant export-oriented country, international policies and regulations in flame retardants are important to its domestic flame retardant industry. With encouragements or restrictions to different types of flame retardants, what the producers and end users choose would be vital to the future prospect of flame retardants in China.

Generally speaking, with the domestic market volume enlarging greatly in recent years, there are various commercial opportunities in China’s flame retardant industry.

In order to state the detailed and accurate flame retardant industry situation in China in the past five years and to make a forecast in the coming five years, the report includes:

– CCM International focuses on domestic production for different flame retardant types, including BFRs, PFRs, CFRs and inorganic flame retardants, to discover their present domestic situation and future prospects.

– CCM International pays great attention to the major products and their producers in China.

– CCM International analyzes domestic consumption by application field.

– CCM International provides insights into key factors influencing flame retardant such as relevant policies and technologies in China.

CCM International forecasts future demand and output for each flame retardant type from 2012 to 2016 based on all the information.

CCM International analyzes the business environment of flame retardant industry in different products with Michael Porter’s Five Forces Model and points out some opportunities.

Through the above penetrations in this report, the latest dynamics and development trends of Chinese flame retardant industry will be clearly presented, which is valuable for investors, traders (both exporters and importers), technology providers, overseas competitors, etc.This report is finished in Feb. 2012, and is the second edition of CCM International’s report on Survey of Flame Retardant Industry in China. It focuses on the production and consumption of major types of flame retardants including BFRs, CFRs, PFRs and inorganic flame retardants in the past few years. It also gives out the forecasts of each type in the following five years, from 2012-1016. Also, it analyses the most influencing factors to China’s flame retardant industry and points out some potential investing opportunities through a Michael Porter’s Five Forces model of each type. (Source-give this report : ReportLinker)

Clay-chitosan nanobrick walls: Completely renewable gas barrier and flame retardant nanocoatings

This intersting article was published on February 16, 2012 in ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces journal.


Thin films prepared via layer-by-layer (LbL) assembly of renewable materials exhibit exceptional oxygen barrier and flame retardant properties. Positively- charged chitosan (CH), at two different pH levels (3 and 6), was paired with anionic montmorillonite (MMT) clay nanoplatelets. Thin film assemblies prepared with CH at high pH are thicker due to low polymer charge density. A 30 bilayer (CH pH 6-MMT) nanocoating (~100 nm thick) reduces the oxygen permeability of a 0.5 mm thick polylactic acid film by four orders of magnitude. This same coating system completely stops the melting of a flexible polyurethane foam, when exposed to direct flame from a butane torch, with just 10 bilayers (~ 30 nm thick). Cone calorimetry confirms that this coated foam exhibited a reduced peak heat release rate, by as much as 52%, relative to the uncoated control. These environmentally benign nanocoatings could prove beneficial for new types of food packaging or a replacement for environmentally persistent antiflammable compounds.

Halogen-free ultra-high flame retardant polymers through enzyme catalysis

Over the past few years, the use of certain types of halogenated flame retardant additives such as decabromodiphenylether has come under intense scrutiny due to their toxicity, environmental persistence and bio-accumulation. There is an immediate need for the development of non-toxic alternative flame retardant materials and fire resistant polymers with comparable or better efficacies, obtained using benign synthetic approaches. Enzymatic polymerization is being used increasingly as an environmentally friendly alternative method for the synthesis of functional materials including polymers and additives. Here, we report a biocatalytic synthesis of a new class of thermally stable, ultra-fire resistant polyphenols based on deoxybenzoins. In calorimetric studies, these polyphenols exhibit very low heat release capacities (comparable to Nomex™) and form a large amount of carbonaceous char rendering them suitable for flame retardant applications. (source: Green Chemistry))

Pinfa Newsletter-N° 16

The latest PINFA newsletter is now available. PDF format:Click here

Flame Retardant (FR) Water-Based Acrylic Polymer for Textile

An Israeli SME has developed a flame retardant water-based acrylic polymer for various applications, mainly in textile & paint industry. Advantages over those on the market include environmental friendliness, transparency, easy incorporation in various materials, good compatibility & pH-stability etc. Looking for industrialists intending to solve fire resistance problems to meet the standards requirements applied in their countries.

In order to give properties to their mixtures / compositions, current textile and paint industry use the compounds, which contain chemically non-bound bromine.
In view of environmental protection, such mixtures are dangerous for their ability to release bromine into environmental surrounding.The company has developed and offers a flame retardant environmentally friendly mixture (polymer composition) containing a newly developed polymer with chemically bound bromine. This flame retardant (FR) polymer composition gives the user an opportunity to pass local standarts in each country with the ease of a regular acrylic binder – so, the product can be used as a regular binder in the textile and paint industry. This property of the polymer composition is unique and gives the user full flexibility to choose both substrate and durability of the application. The product is aiming to the finisher of the textile industry and to varnish producers in need of a FR properties. The polymer composition is patent protected around the world.
The company is well established and has an experience of over 25 years in polymer developments, production and distribution. The company strives to develop new nano materials with special properties under the concept of “smart carrier”.

Innovative Aspects
1. Universal water-based acrylic polymer, “smart carrier” of fire resistance property without releasing free bromine in the process of substrate (fabric, paint etc.) manufacturing.
2. The polymer is Nano-structured (produced in nanotechnology process).

Main advantages of the Offer
1. “Green” product, as compared to those on the market
2. Transparency, up to 100 %
3. Easy to use (easy incorporated in various systems / materials).
4. Compatibility with most textile finishing chemicals.
5. Good pH stability
6. Supplied as an aqueous dispersion with up to 50% solids.

Source: enterpriseeurope

New Techniques in Flame Retardant and Synergist Analysis

Visualization of key polymer additives in 3-D without damage to polymer or test sample allows for future advances in fire safety solutions

 A collaboration between researchers from Albemarle Corporation , Louisiana State University (LSU), and the Center for Advanced Microstructures and Devices (CAMD) has led to innovative new methods that will increase 3-D visualization of flame retardant and synergist components using element specific X-ray tomography. This research shows that it is possible to visualize key polymer additives in 3-D without damage to the polymer or test sample.

Brominated flame retardants and synergists are important polymer additives for fire safety. The ever increasing demand for fire safety, lower cost products and greener chemistry in consumer products drives extensive research aimed at creating more efficient and green flame retardants. Dispersion of the additives in the polymer matrices is critical to their efficiency and use. The spectroscopic tools and mathematical methods developed in this collaboration allow researchers to study both the dispersion of brominated materials and synergists to develop more efficient and greener blends.

“Our collaboration with LSU has been very successful and has led to new insights benefiting polymer additives, especially brominated flame retardants and synergists,” says Joop de Rooij, Albemarle’s R&D director. “New tools developed in this collaboration allow us to more accurately study dispersion and address performance issues in real commercial flame retardant application. This effort enables Albemarle to maintain our technology leadership in this highly competitive field by adapting and developing new and advanced products faster than the competition.”

According to Professor Les Butler of LSU and CAMD, “Working with Albemarle has clearly been a good situation. We have learned a lot about practical polymer and imaging technology and with this knowledge we have been able to develop the novel and powerful visualization tools.”

The work is funded through a Grant Opportunity for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI) from the National Science Foundation. Principal investigators with Professor Butler are Professor Randall Hall of LSU, and Dr. Larry Simeral, Distinguished Advisor at Albemarle. Source: Market WATCH

FRBioComp project

The overall aim of the project is to develop fire-retardant, environmentally sustainable composites using natural fibres and biopolymers. Novel synergistic combinations of the following will be developed and brought together to form these new biocomposites: (1) Inherently fire retardant natural fibres (which typically have poor mechanical performance); (2) High strength natural fibres treated with fire retardants; and (3) Biopolymers incorporating synergistic mixtures of non-halogenated FR’s and layered-silicate nanoclays.

The modified biopolymer fibres and natural fibres will be comingled (intimately mixed) and used to produce zero-twist yarns and highly aligned woven fabrics suitable for high performance composites. The fabrics will be treated with phosphorus and/or nitrogen-based flame retardants (previously identified to be effective on natural fibres, as described in State of the Art). These semi-finished materials will then be moulded into composite parts by applying heat and pressure to melt and flow the polymer. Processes will include vacuum bagging, compression moulding and pultrusion. The composite laminates produced will have reduced weight and production cost compared to current structures and will produce minimum smoke and toxic products on burning. They are expected to meet the fire performance requirements for construction (interiors, architectural parts), mass transport (interior panels and trim) and other sectors (automotive, electronics etc.)

The FRBioComp project will produce high performance, fire-retardant, environmentally sustainable composite materials, by developing and subsequently combining the following three components: (1) Inherently fire retardant natural fibres; (2) Natural fibres treated with fire retardants; and (3) Biopolymers incorporating synergistic fire retardants (primarily mixtures of non-halogenated fire retardants and layered-silicate nanoclays). These biocomposites will have reduced weight, production cost and environmental impact compared to current structures and will produce minimum smoke and toxic products on burning. The natural fibres and biopolymer fibres will be commingled and incorporated into highly aligned, twistless yarns and fabrics with high mechanical reinforcement potential and processability. The materials will be processed into composite parts and profiles and subjected to a battery of mechanical and fire tests, leading to the design, development and evaluation of several application specific case study parts. The economic, social and environmental impacts of the materials will be assessed. The materials developed will comply with the fire performance requirements for a range of applications, in particular in construction (interior/exterior cladding, furniture) and transportation (interior panels, seats), and other sectors including automotive, electronics/consumer goods and aerospace. For more information: click here
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