New patent: Nanocomposite compositions containing a graft polymer and a filler such as nano-sized silica having flame resistant properties

This patent was published on March 2012.


The invention is based, at least in part, on the discovery that by mixing graft polymers with a nano-sized hydrogen-bonding filler such as silica, one can obtain nanocomposite compositions that have a much higher flame resistance, increased char formation, greater structural stability of char, increased decomposition temperature, decreased heat release rate, decreased mass loss rate, decreased peak smoke production, decreased average smoke production, and/or decreased production of carbon dioxide, than in polymer compositions that lack graft polymers.

Download this patent: click HERE   (source: Freepatentonline)

FRX Polymers to build first commercial plant in Belgium

FRX Polymers, Inc. in Chelmsford has signed a long-term lease with Bayer Material Science to operate its first commercial plant in Antwerp, Belgium.

FRX expects to break ground on the 32,291 square-foot site during August of 2012 and commission the plant during the fourth quarter 2013, according to a written statement.

FRX says it’s in the growth phase of commercializing its environmentally-friendly flame retardant plastics. The company’s products are used in consumer electronics, building and construction, and transportation markets as polymeric flame retardant additives, flame retardant engineering plastics, and as reactive flame retardant additives for thermosetting resins.

“The selection of Bayer’s Antwerp site is a strategic one for FRX,” said Marc Lebel, president and CEO of FRX Polymers. “Not only is the site equipped with state of the art infrastructure, but two key raw materials important for FRX are also produced by Bayer on this site. Moreover, Antwerp Port is at the heart of European chemical manufacturing, which ensures access to a highly skilled workforce and to world class logistics.”

Founded in 2007, FRX has 20 granted patents and 58 patent applications. The company was the 2008 recipient of Frost and Sullivan’s “Innovation of the Year” award for flame retardant materials, and received the first-place award in the Clean Technology Business Forum. Besides its two pilot plants in Chelmsford, it operates a third pilot plant in Switzerland. (source: MHT)

Recyclability Comparison:HIPS containing GreenArmor™ and Commercial PC/ABS containing RDP

The recycle evaluations performed on HIPS containing Earthwise™ GreenArmor.™
With the importance of electronics and electrical equipment (EEE) end-of-life (EOL), comes research to determine the viability of various EOL options. For flame retardant plastics used in EEE applications, mechanical recycle, feedstock recovery (for brominated flame retardant systems), and waste-to-energy recovery are all acceptable options. Mechanical recycle of plastics from EEE applications is growing in importance. This growth results in materials for use in the original or in downgraded applications, depending on the thoroughness of sorting, dismantling, identification, and shredding of large parts.
GreenArmor and all Earthwise products are committed to the principles of green chemistry where the entire life cycle of a product from design and innovation, to minimizing the use of raw materials and energy, through the manufacturing process and down to the final stages of recycling or reusing commercial by-products are addressed.
The recycle evaluations performed on HIPS containing Earthwise GreenArmor and commercial PC/ABS containing resorcinol diphenyl phosphate (RDP). pdf format of Albemarle report: Click HERE

What’s more important: saving lives and property or the planet? Now you can do both!

Introducing Earthwise™ (PDF file), a breakthrough flame retardant technology that saves lives, protects property and is eco-friendly.

GreenArmor is a top performance fire safety alternative for broad resin application profiles. This solution is non-toxic, recyclable and nonbioaccumulative, meaning the chemical is too large to be absorbed by the body or animal life.
GreenArmor is a highly stable product that lends itself to efficient recycling of plastics.

GreenArmor is an eco-friendly solution compared to many flame retardants currently on the market, while maintaining the premium performance product attributes.

All Earthwise products demand a more rigorous focus on sustainability and eco-friendliness. In order for a product to be introduced under the Earthwise label, it must exceed sustainability and eco-friendliness criteria, above and beyond the standards set for existing commercial products. Those criteria include bioaccumulation, toxicity, recycle capability, carbon footprint and other critical environmental metrics.

GreenArmor is non-bioaccumulative and recyclable.
GreenArmor is an innovative solution that is organically based rather than mineral-based. It is a polymer, which means the chemical is too large to be absorbed by the body or animal life. GreenArmor exists in a pelletized form, rather than in powder form; as a result, when used by manufacturers, its emissions are much lower.

GreenArmor is designed to be an environmentally preferred product. The highly stable nature of product lends itself to efficient recycling of the plastics that use it. Accordingly, the discharge of poisonous fumes to the environment during product recycling phase is minimized. (source: click here)

Pinfa Newsletter N°17 , March 2012

The Pinfa Newsletter N°17 , March 2012 edition, is now available. (Pdf format: click here)

Nanobrick walls make excellent gas barriers and flame retardants

Polyurethane (PU) foam is an extremely versatile material that commonly is used in bedding, upholstery and building insulation. However, PU foam is very flammable, often resulting in dripping of melted material that enhances flame spread through the formation of a pool fire under the burning object. Brominated flame retardant compounds (e.g. pentabromodiphenyl ether) have been used to reduce foam flammability but there is growing evidence that these chemicals are toxic to the environment and living organisms.

Replacing brominated flame retardants in polymer formulations with safer and more environmentally-friendly alternatives has also sparked the interest of nanoscientists. For instance, they have found that carbon nanotubes and clay can improve the flame retardancy of plastics. Their flame retarding mechanisms are different and their effect for improving the flame retardancy is limited when they are used alone. However, when they are used together, a significant synergism happens.

Another, more recent effort to create an environmentally-friendly flame retardant system involves the layer-by-layer assembly of thin films using materials obtained from completely renewable sources. 

“Our goal was to develop a truly ‘green’ film with flame-retardant and oxygen-barrier characteristics” Jaime C. Grunlan, Associate Professor and Gulf Oil/Thomas A. Dietz Development Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University, tells Nanowerk. “To our knowledge, this is the first study of a flame suppressing thin film consisting of completely renewable materials.” 

The general topic of safe flame retardant technologies is very timely, with many of the commonly used halogenated materials being restricted around the world. With legislation banning brominated compounds, there is a significant need for new anti flammable technologies that are not harmful to environment and do not degrade other important properties of a given object. 

“Our coating provides improvement to the flame retardancy of the foam but it does not alter its physical properties,” says Grunlan. “This is also the first demonstration of a high gas barrier thin film made from these same materials.” 

Grunlan and his team reported their findings in the February 16, 2012 online edition of Applied Materials & Interfaces (“Clay–Chitosan Nanobrick Walls: Completely Renewable Gas Barrier and Flame-Retardant Nanocoatings”), first-authored by Galina Laufer, a PhD student in Grunlan’s Polymer NanoComposites Group. (Source: Nanowerk)  

Reactive Surface Treatment (RST) technology for FR treatment

Disruptive RST technology company Alexium has begun the commercial roll-out of its flame retardant, oil and water repellent nylon, which it says has met key technical milestones for flame retardancy, water repellency and durability.

The company is aiming to address demand from the U.S. military, which currently has 1.4 million soldiers serving on active duty and 800,000 soldiers on reserve duty, as well as commercial customers in the U.S. and abroad.

Significantly, the company anticipates a combined market demand of at least 4 million linear yards per year, with high profit margin potential.

 “We clearly see where our FR treatments can make an impact in the marketplace,” chief operating officer Stefan Susta said.

It’s a revolutionary approach and very different from any other FR treatment. After transitioning the technology to licensees for nylon, we will be exploring applications on other synthetic fabrics and blends.”

Certification testing

The company now plans to begin larger demonstration runs for interested partners and enter into certification testing for military and commercial customers. In the coming months, Alexium will be negotiating licence agreements with partners to deliver flame retardant nylon treatment capabilities to fabric producing partners.

Susta told Proactive Investors this week that Alexium is currently in a number of discussions with potential partners and the company is seeking partnerships in other geographic locations for certain applications with several commercial partners that manufacture and supply the fabric.

“There’s a significant market opportunity that we’re chasing and I think we’re extremely close in applying the technology that we’ve developed here in translating it to other markets as well that use nylon not just for military apparel,” he said.

Protective nanocomposite char layer

The eco-friendly flame retardant treatment is based on a new flame retardant mechanism that Alexium has discovered and developed for nylon fabrics. The nylon treatment offers flame retardancy by the formation of a protective nanocomposite char layer. This char layer is also said to prevent any dripping or melting, which is characteristic of many synthetic flame retardant fabrics.

Notably, this performance is provided without using halogenated chemicals which are under increased scrutiny in the U.S. and Europe because of their potential impact to the environment and public health.

“While heavy back coatings are currently available for rendering nylon flame retardant, they have limited application due to their high weight and impermeability,” Alexium said.

“Due to the inherent advantages over other fibres, nylon remains the top choice for many outdoor apparel systems, including the cold weather clothing systems, which are issued to each core soldier in the U.S. military.”

Additional applications

Susta said this was just one of several initiatives Alexium was working on. “We are working on commercial roll out of ballistic fabric treatments for repellency. Those are high end fabrics used in a number of locations and for different applications,” he said.

“We are working on a number of things, some also non-textile related and we will be moving into some of those applications as well.”

Alexium’s Reactive Surface Treatment (RST) technology, which combines microwave curing with novel chemistry, is the basis for this new topical fabric treatment.

Earlier this month Alexium signed a new Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory in Florida to continue to develop and commercialise the patented RST technology.

RST is a process, developed initially by the U.S. Department of Defense, which allows for the surface modification and attachment of nanoparticles or multiple chemical functional groups to surfaces or substrates to provide functions such as water proofing, oil proofing, anti-microbial, non-stick and UV protection. The collaboration is expected to result in greater soldier protection from chemical and biological threats, and improved materials used in military and commercial applications. (Source: Innovation in textiles)


First fire-blocker for all aircraft seating covers developed

National Nonwovens has launched the Ultra-ProTechtor, the first fire-blocker for all aircraft seating dress covers. The product produced by Sabic Innovative Plastics is a nonwoven lightweight flame barrier that utilises Ultem polymer and newly-developed fibres.

According to National Nonwovens, Ultra-ProTechtor provides increased stability along with significant property improvements including low smoke density and toxicity, water repellency, low heat release, high puncture resistance and improved fire-blocking protection at a lighter weight. In addition, it has excellent seam, tear and tensile strength resulting in less stretch and is formaldehyde free.

Anthony Centofanti, CEO and president at National Nonwovens, said: “Ultra-ProTechtor is engineered to provide ultra-flammability protection with superior performance at a lower weight and lower cost.

“Although it was initially designed for the Aerospace Market, it can also greatly benefit other markets that have modes of transportation requiring fire-blockers.” National Nonwovens added that using its advanced engineering with Ultem fibre technology resulted in the Ultra-ProTechtor being more fire-resistant than Aramids. It also has a higher Limiting Oxygen Index (LOI) rating than either Nomex or Kevlar.

LOI is an index that rates the fire-resistance properties according to the minimum concentration of oxygen, expressed as a percentage. The higher the number, the greater resistance of the polymer to support a flame; Ultra-ProTechtor has an LOI of 44% while Nomex has an LOI of 26% and Kevlar has an LOI of 31%. (Source: WTIN)

Effect of zinc borate on the fire and thermal degradation behaviors of a poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-4-hydroxybutyrate)-containing intumescent flame retardant

Published Article in Applied Polymer Science


The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of zinc borate (ZnB) on the fire and thermal degradation behaviors of a poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-4-hydroxybutyrate) [P(3,4)HB]-containing intumescent flame retardant (IFR). The IFR system was composed of ammonium polyphosphate, pentaerythritol, and melamine. The fire properties of P(3,4)HB/IFR/ZnB blends were evaluated by limited oxygen index, Underwriters Laboratories 94, microscale combustion calorimetry (MCC), and cone calorimetry (CONE) testing. The results of MCC and CONE show that the peak heat release rate, which is an important indicator of material fire hazard, of P(3,4)HB/IFR decreased when a small amount of the IFR was substituted by ZnB. The thermal degradation behavior of the P(3,4)HB/IFR/ZnB blends were measured by thermogravimetric analysis and thermogravimetric analysis–infrared (TG–IR) spectrometry. The data of TG–IR showed that the flammable gas products of P(3,4)HB released during the thermal degradation process were greatly decreased. Scanning electron microscopy analysis revealed that more compact char residues were observed with the incorporation of ZnB. 

%d bloggers like this: