SKZ in Shanghai - International Conference on Flame Retardants

The First International Conference on Flame Retardants organized by the German   Plastics Center SKZ and chaired by Dr. Troitzsch Fire and Environment Protection Service FEPS took place in Shanghai on 21 and 22 September 2009. One key objective of this  conference was helping to understand national and international regulations and requirements, in order to better position flame retardants and products in the national and international   markets. Other topics were new developments in flame retardants and flame retarded  polymers based on phosphorous- and nitrogen-containing flame retardants, nanocomposites, intumescent and inorganic flame retardant systems. Last not least, environmental aspects and the status of REACH were discussed.

The first session started with an overview on European fire safety classifications and tests in building, transportation and on new developments in flammability requirements for electrical engineering & electronics. A more detailed presentation on the European harmonization    activities for high-speed trains, its international significance and resulting global trends     followed. For building, the particular significance of thermal insulation foams and related fire safety concepts in Europe, the applications and practical use of these foam systems and their relevance for the Chinese market were pointed out. American and European fire tests for evaluating wire and cable flammability were discussed in the light of the fire safety levels of different cable systems. A paper on flame retardants, risk assessments and the latest status of REACH with antimony trioxide as an example closed this session.    

The second session focused on new developments in flame retardants and their use in plastics markets. The first paper showed how to compound various flame retarded polymer and foam grades by using suitable extruders and screws. The following speakers covered the use of   halogenfree flame retardants, and particularly of metal phosphinates in polyamides, PBT,  co-polyester elastomers, polyurethanes, and printed wiring boards. How to cost-optimize flame retarded engineering plastics in electrical & electronic applications was another interesting topic. Particular attention was further devoted to the glow wire test and the use of halogenated and halogenfree formulations for appliances.       

Halogenfree flame retardants and optimized intumescent systems based on ammonium polyphosphate were presented, and new developments in high performance metal hydroxides such as aluminum trihydrate, magnesium hydroxide and boehmite with submicron structures were discussed for various applications. The topic nanoclays and flammability was also dealt with and it was shown once more that unfortunately, there is no pronounced effect of these clays in providing better fire safety levels for polymer formulations. The conference closed with an overview on flame retardants for textiles and new developments based on DOPO (9,10-Dihydro-9-oxa-10-phosphaphenanthrene-10-oxide).

The concept of this first SKZ-conference in China with presentations in English and Chinese was well received. The conference programme is available under: It is planned to organize the second International Flame Retardants Conference in Shanghai for 2011.