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FLAME RETARDANTS | ADDITIVES


More sustainable chemistries and improved performance at lower addition rates are the development focus for the flame retardants industry, writes Peter Mapleston


Reaching out for better flame performance


Sustainability and the Circular Economy are terms that crop up frequently in many of the most recent announcements of new flame retardant systems for plastics. Suppliers are developing materials that are more effective at lower addition rates and yet continue to perform well, even when the com- pounds they are used in are recycled several times over. Many of the latest introductions are halogen- free in compliance with latest demands coming from world markets – but not all of them. “In the future, innovative phosphorous and


organobromine compounds will be the mainstay of sustainable flame retardants, particularly in the construction industry,” says Karsten Job, Head of the Polymer Additives business unit at Lanxess. He explains that Lanxess technical development centres in Leverkusen in Germany and at Naug- atuck in Connecticut in the US are working inten- sively to make such systems available for other polymer classes in the future too. At K2019, Lanxess’s Polymer Additives business shone the light on flame retardance in polystyrene and polyurethane foams for the construction industry. “Organic flame retardants are a key


www.compoundingworld.com


cornerstone of our polymer additive portfolio. Building on our phosphorous compounds that have proven themselves over decades, we have systematically and sustainably consolidated this position in recent years,” says Job. The global phase-out of hexabromocyclodode- cane (HBCD), previously widely used in EPS and XPS, will conclude at the end of 2021 when China ends its use. One alternative already widely used in the US and Europe is Lanxess’s Emerald Innovation 3000 (a polymeric brominated additive which uses technology originally developed by Dow), but the company is also working on the other alternatives. ICL-IP is keeping faith with bromine, and says it


is ready for the Circular Economy. “A major issue associated with recycling of flame retarded compounds is properties’ resilience, or in other words, to what extend do recycled articles maintain their initial characteristics and more specifically their mechanical properties,” says Marc Leifer, Global Technical Marketing Support Manager in the company’s Flame Retardants business unit. “In that context, ICL-IP has invested significant resources: not only by developing sustainable and


December 2019 | COMPOUNDING WORLD 25


Main image: Fire retardant additive


suppliers aim to provide more perfor- mance at lower addition levels


IMAGE: SHUTTERSTOCK


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