Improving Product Safety With Flame Retardant Plastics

Fire triangleUsing flame retardant technologies to reduce fire hazards is a basic element of product safety.

There are a number of ambiguous terms used to describe plastics incorporating flame retardant systems (fire retardant, ignition resistant, and self-extinguishing), all of which have similar intent.

The objective of flame retardant systems is to delay ignition and/or fire spread.

Flame retardant compounds help mitigate fire danger

  • ILOIncrease plastic’s ignition resistance
  • Reduce the speed of flame spread
  • Reduce heat release
  • Reduce smoke & fume generation

When exposed to heat or flame, plastics undergo pyrolysis, which results in thermal degradation of the resin’s physical properties (softening and melting) and releases gases that are potentially volatile.

Flame retardant plastics attempt to combat these conditions through one of several mechanisms that moderate one or more of the elements (fuel, heat, or oxygen) necessary for burning to take place.

Even with flame retardant treatment, no plastic can be rendered entirely fire proof. Under flashover conditions all plastics, even those that are inherently fire resistant, will at some point combust.

When using flame retardant materials it is important to design for safety

  • Ignition sources
  • Duration
  • Part size and geometry
  • Qualified flammability rating

Single Material Solutions

Regulatory compliance is just one element of successful material selection criteria

  • Meeting appropriate flammability specifications
  • Perform in end-use environment for temperature and chemical exposure
  • Resin system with necessary physical properties at practical cost

With all the technical and regulatory challenges it entails, flame retardance is perhaps the most challenging property to achieve in thermoplastic materials. However, it is often only one of a host of properties necessary to make your application successful.

  • Increased stiffness/toughness
  • Wear resistance
  • Static charge control
  • Visually appealing color
  • Tunable TPE hardness & bondability

At RTP Company, our materials expertise extends from achieving vital flame retardant characteristics to including the precise combination of engineering properties you need in a single material.

Download your copy of our Flame Retardant brochure today!

Learn more about material testing, regulations, and how RTP Company specialty compounds can provide you with an ideal solution.

Flame Retardant Brochure
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