Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Fire resistant plastics

01.02.2002


The use of halogenated flame retardants in plastics is steadily declining because they are volatile, pose an environmental risk and are difficult to recycle. Microcapsules, fibers and melamine resin foams represent some of the chief alternatives.

As successfully as the endless variety of plastics have established themselves on the market, these multifaceted materials show another face when it comes to fire. They melt and feed the flames like the petroleum from which they were ultimately produced. As a preventative measure, a variety of flame retardants are added to plastics, yet this introduces a number of problems. Additives often alter the mechanical properties and electrical insulating effect of plastics. Especially brominated and chlorinated additives migrate through the material and can damage metal and electronic components. Moreover, they represent a health risk and interfere with the recycling process. Yet fire safety regulations require the use of flame retardants.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP is developing combustion-resistant and self-extinguishing plastics. Last November members of the working group, directed by Dr. Gerald Rafler, received the Friedrichs Prize for new technologies, along with 15,000 Euro in prize money, for their innovations and development of new materials. The prize is awarded by the German Federation of Industrial Cooperative Research Associations "Otto von Guericke" AiF. The new materials are already being tested and prepared for market introduction by the Austrian company Agrolinz Melamin GmbH.



"The microencapsulation of flame retardants is one of three strategies we are currently pursuing," explains Rafler. "The outer shell of the microscopic capsules is made of nonfusable, flame-resistant melamine resin like that used for frying pan handles or power plugs. The flame retardants remain enclosed in the capsules and are only released in the event of fire." Even substances incompatible with the base plastic material can be used if encapsulated. Nitrogen, carbon dioxide and compounds designed to produce extinguishing gases in reaction to heat are some examples. Gas-filled microcapsules are pressure-resistant and withstand plastics processing procedures such as extrusion, granulation and injection molding without rupturing.

The IAP research team has developed two further concepts to replace halogenated flame retardants. They manufacture fiber-reinforced polymers made of melt-spun melamine fibers. Such composite materials are easier to process and recycle than those reinforced with glass fiber. Finally, they manufacture high tenacity melamine foams that begin to slowly decompose at temperatures above 360 °C.

Dr. Johannes Ehrlenspiel | Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Borophene shines alone as 2-D plasmonic material
21.11.2017 | Rice University

nachricht Quantum dots amplify light with electrical pumping
21.11.2017 | DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Previous evidence of water on mars now identified as grainflows

21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope completes final cryogenic testing

21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New catalyst controls activation of a carbon-hydrogen bond

21.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>