Flame Retardant Chemicals - A Global Market OverviewIndustry Experts
October 4, 2011
235 Pages - SKU: IDXP6590822
Additional InformationReport Excerpt
Though there are several classes of flame retardants, they all function in only a few specific ways. Some flame retardants can be used on their own, while some others act as “synergists” to enhance the effectiveness of other flame retardants. This product class is vital in that materials that are to be fire safe have varying natures and compositions. For instance, plastics have a variety of physicochemical properties and different plastics act differently on combustion. Hence, it is vital that flame retardants are appropriately matched with the type of plastic for effective functioning. Comprehending the functioning of flame retardants requires knowledge about how a material burns.
Solid materials do not burn on direct contact with a flame but have to be decomposed by heat (pyrolysis) that releases flammable gases. Flames appear only when these combustible gases react with oxygen in the air in the presence of high energy free radicals that can give rise to several exothermic radical chain reactions. In case conditions for combustion are not achieved, the material only smolders and can even self extinguish. The material remaining after the polymer has released flammable gases is a stable carbonaceous “char”.
Heat generated by the exothermic radical chain reactions breaks down (pyrolysis) long-chain solid molecules into combustible gases that are in reality smaller short-chain molecules. The fire becomes a self-sustaining chemical reaction when the combustion of the flammable gases supplies enough energy to the material that released them, so much so that decomposition (pyrolysis) continues due to the supply of fresh combustible material.
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