Flame retardants are used in a variety of plastic applications to improve fire safety, but a changing regulatory environment and product stewardship are prompting the industry to introduce new, more environmentally friendly, flame retardant chemistries. Specifically, the flame retardant industry has shifted away from ``Deca-BDE`` (Decabromodiphenyl ether) and HBCD (hexabromocyclododecane) flame retardant products to greener alternatives. HBCD has been the standard flame retardant for polystyrene foam because it is highly effective in that application, but now polymeric flame retardant chemistries are available for polystyrene as a “greener” flame retardant replacement.
Polymeric FR is effective in reducing the flammability of polystyrene, but XPS (extruded polystyrene) foam insulation manufacturing requires that the polymeric flame retardant is compounded into a stabilized masterbatch to improve thermal stability during processing. The R&D group at PMC Polymer Products worked in conjunction with our suppliers and customers to design a flame retardant masterbatch product optimized for delivering flame retardant into XPS insulation. This was a difficult technical challenge as the new masterbatch formulation had to maintain insulating properties, meet flammability standards, and process easily for the foam manufacturers. We worked with our customers and supported their extensive qualifications to ensure that critical product properties and processing were not compromised with the change to polymeric flame retardant chemistry.
Our new flame retardant masterbatch was essentially a “drop-in” replacement for our customer’s extrusion operations, making for an easy transition for plastic processors. Their XPS foam insulation product is now a commercial product. The benefit are widespread, from homeowners to commercial buildings as the insulation is more environmentally friendly while still providing good insulating properties and fire resistance all at an economical cost.
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