The Fire Resistance in Plastics 2011 Conference

The Fire Resistance in Plastics 2011 Conference took place in Cologne, Germany, on 30 November to 1 December 2011, with 160 participants and covered topics ranging from flame retardant markets, new developments in flame retardant systems based on silicones, glasses, and nanocomposites. The focus was also on commercial flame retardants and their use in engineering plastics.

The conference started with a very interesting keynote presentation on the flame retardant markets in China including industry, resources, production, and consumption of the major families of flame retardants. The second paper dealt with the influence of flame retardants in the degradation of polymers and ways to stabilize them.

The following sessions covered topics on silicone rubbers, the use of glass flakes and their merits in reducing smoke development in PVC, and the role of low melting glasses in conjunction with organoclays to improve the fire safety level of epoxies when tested in the cone calorimeter. In the nanocomposites section, halloysite nanocomposites were presented as a means to better flame retard high end security cables. A presentation on developments of tin-containing layered double hydroxide nanofillers as flame retardants and smoke reducers in PVC and EVA in the frame of a small EU project (Eurostars) showed the progresses made in this field. A general overview on ways to flame retard polyamide 6, PA6/polyolefin alloys, PET for textiles, the surface protection of polycarbonates based on micro/nano and intumescent systems showed possibilities to improve flame retardancy in the field of engineering plastics. Another paper looked into glass-filled high temperature polyamides flame retarded with metal phosphinates and metal hydroxystannates for reducing smoke development - such products are of growing importance in railway applications.

In the section on industrial flame retardants some very interesting new products were presented by several flame retardant producers, starting with the substitution of hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) by a new polymeric, brominated flame retardant (block copolymer of polystyrene and brominated polybutadiene) for polystyrene foams (EPS and XPS); it will be commercially available soon. Two papers presented new halogenfree phosphorus compounds for flame retardant FR4 epoxy printed circuit boards. One dealt with reactive monofunctional liquid and difunctional solid phosphorus substances which show a better properties range than DOPO. The other one presented a halogenfree curing agent for printed circuit boards which also meets the FR4 specification. Another interesting new flame phosphorus flame retardant with 26 % P is very effective in polyolefin films and may be used in combination with solid bis-phosphate in engineering plastics such as glass-filled PBT.

Further presentations dealt with expandable graphite, melamine cyanurate and melamine polyphosphate, light stabilizers acting as flame retardant, and a new flame retarded thermoplastic polyurethane elastomer with low smoke development suitable for the new railway requirements to CEN/TS 45545-2.

The conference programme is available under: