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Halogen-free fire retardancy: Overview and new approaches (Part I)

SpecialChem / Mar 26, 2001

To make polymer burn three ingredients are necessary: heat, fuel and oxygen. Heat produces flammable gases from the pyrolysis of polymer. Then, an adequate ratio between these gases and oxygen leads to ignition of the polymer. The combustion leads to a production of heat that is spread out DH1 and fed back DH2. This feed-back pyrolyses polymer and keeps the combustion going. To limit the establishment of this combustion circle, one (or more) ingredient has to be removed. Several techniques are available in order to break down this combustion circle. Flame retardants have to inhibit or even suppress the combustion process. Depending on the polymer and the fire testing, flame retardants have to fight against one or several stages of the combustion process: heating, decomposition, ignition, flame spread, smoke process, ... Flame retardants can act chemically and/or physically in the condensed phase and/or in the gas phase. The incorporation of inert compounds that evolve inert gases on decomposition dilutes the fuel in the solid and gaseous phases. Therefore, the ignition of the pyrolysis gases is delayed by dilution.

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