Flame retardants and heat release: review of data on individual polymers

Article first published online: 11 MAR 2014 in Fire and Materials.


This work is the second of two parts that considered the following issue: do flame retardants affect heat release of polymers? The reason for investigating the issue is because it is important to assess whether the addition of flame retardants positively decreases fire hazard. This part of the work considered the two following issues. (1) Analysis of the individual polymeric materials that need to be studied. (2) Analysis of the data found on heat release (particularly peak heat release rate), ignitability (if available), and other thermal properties (as available) of polymers in small-scale test data in recent years. The effects are being presented in terms of the percentage of improvement.

The work demonstrated that, almost without exception, when adequately compounded systems were developed, the peak heat release rate of the flame retarded system was lower than that of the non-flame retarded system. The overall conclusion of the two-part study was that flame retardants does indeed improve fire safety (when used appropriately) and that a key reason for the beneficial effect of flame retardants is that they decrease heat release.

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