Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New flame retardant enters market

28.09.2017

Chemists from Empa have developed and patented an environmentally friendly way to produce flame retardants for foams that can be used in mattresses and upholstery. Unlike previous flame retardants made of chemicals containing chlorine, the new material is non-toxic and effective. Two of Empa’s industrial partners are now launching the innovation on the market.

EDA-DOPO, the environmentally friendly flame retardant developed at Empa, is going into serial production. The newly developed, particularly economic and ecological synthesis method, which also simplifies the production of other DOPO derivatives, is a crucial part of this success story.


Foam sample with EDA-DOPO in a flame test in the Empa laboratory.

Empa

The company Metadynea Austria GmbH will manufacture the material and, if there is sufficient demand, the global FoamPartner Group will use it to produce flame-retardant polyurethane (PU) foams for upholstery and mattresses. Since the new method of production of DOPO derivatives was patented in June 2017, Metadynea Austria GmbH has already produced around 1.5 tons of the flame retardant.

Non-Toxic

This constitutes the first step towards replacing conventional, halogenated flame retardants, which are sometime toxic and give off toxic gases in the event of a fire. Empa’s EDA-DOPO – a derivative of the familiar flame retardant DOPO (9,10-dihydro-10-oxa-phosphaphenanthreneoxide) – does not emit these toxins. Furthermore, the foam material containing this flame retardant satisfies the highest flame retardant classification (UL 94 HB).

Fire retardant expert Sabyasachi Gaan developed EDA-DOPO at Empa in a two-year research project within the scope of the Eureka SUSPUR project (www.eurekanetwork.org/project/id/8058). It was initiated by the FoamPartner Group, which was looking to expand its range with environmentally friendly flame retardant PU foams. The company is currently the sole license holder for EDA-DOPO for PU applications. The substance is manufactured exclusively by Metadynea Austria GmbH.

Mandatory for public areas

Flame-retardant upholstery is especially mandatory for areas where many people gather: Planes, trains, buses, hotels and restaurants. Flame retardants prevent materials from being ignited, such as with cigarettes or by vandals. However, the environmental standards keep getting stringent here, too. The evaporation of flame retardants into the ambient air or atmosphere is undesirable and the toxic gases that can form during a fire are also being accepted less and less. Many countries have already banned halogenated flame retardants. Consequently, there is a growing need for modern, harmless alternatives all over the world.

Although foam production with the new flame retardant is already underway, products containing EDA-DOPO will not be on sale just yet; the flame retardant is currently being certified in accordance with the European chemical regulation REACH. The foam samples produced are presently undergoing diverse flame tests to enable the new flame-retardant foams to hit the global markets as quickly as possible once they obtain their REACH certification.

Info box: Why do we need flame retardants?

We encounter PU foams in many places in everyday life: They are in the insulation on house façades, fridges, car seats, living room sofas and shoe soles. PU is composed of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen atoms. The air trapped in the foam’s pores also contains oxygen. Therefore, the foam – like most organic polymers – is highly flammable and, depending on the requirements, needs to be equipped with flame retardants to curb the risk of fire. In recent decades, foam manufacturers tended to use chlorinated phosphates as flame retardants – low-priced substances that do not disrupt the production process.

However, many of these chlorinated flame retardants are toxic and can eventually evaporate from the foam and get into the ambient air. As a result, these substances are already banned in many countries. Industry is thus on the lookout for environmentally friendly, harmless alternatives. And it’s big business: Every year, around 20 million tons of PU foam are produced worldwide, the majority of which is supposed to be equipped with flame retardants.

EDA-DOPO satisfies economic and ecological criteria with flying colors and has achieved the highest flame retardant classification UL 94 HB. The flame retardant is also highly compatible with the production process for PU foams: It mixes well with polyol, a base material of PU foam, and forms a stable dispersion. The production process results in a foam with the solid flame retardant EDA-DOPO finely distributed in its pores.

Weitere Informationen:

https://www.empa.ch/web/s604/eda-dopo-flame-retardant

Rainer Klose | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

Further reports about: Empa REACH flame retardants foam highly flammable oxygen atoms pores

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation

nachricht Pollen taxi for bacteria
18.07.2018 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts

18.07.2018 | Life Sciences

Machine-learning predicted a superhard and high-energy-density tungsten nitride

18.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

Why might reading make myopic?

18.07.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>