Offering good performance at low cost, polypropylene (PP) is a popular commodity plastic within many market sectors. However, due to its high flammability and low charring nature, PP is difficult to fire protected. Whist brominated flame retardants (FRs) are able to achieve excellent FR performance at moderate cost and with little impact on polymer properties, they release toxic and corrosive smoke during fire, are potentially harmful to the environment and restrict PP recyclability. There is thus increased legislative and political pressure for a reduction in halogen FR use. Existing halogen free PP flame retardants are based on low performance & low cost mineral FR additives or high performance & high cost intumescent systems, both requiring high to moderate loadings thereby impacting on polymer properties and restricting use for high performance applications.
‘Mixed intumescent polymeric salts’ (MIPS) are a novel cost efficient high performance intumescent FR additive. Utilising phosphorous rich oligomers synthesised from readily available raw materials, the MIPS chemistry integrates the essential components for intumescence within one molecule, locked in a reaction state immediately preceding intumescence, thereby enabling:
- High performance at reduced loading: Rapid and efficient intumescence at low temperatures achieving enhanced flame retardancy and smoke suppression;
- Cost Competitiveness: Low cost additive manufacture combined with reduced loading enabling additive package pricing in-line with halogen based systems;
- Superior physical and mechanical properties: non-particulate and oligomeric nature (melt blendable) and reduced loading levels, achieving significantly reduced impact on base polymer properties;
PP-MIPS will further advance ‘MIPS’ as an intumescent fire protection chemistry for PP, targeting commercial competitiveness with halogen based FR systems and enabling their replacement for high performance applications. The PP-MIPS compounds will be demonstrated for two high profile case study applications: 1) halogen free UL94-V2 rated PP fibres; and 2) NFPA-262 rated cable insulation jackets. Such applications are currently only possible using halogenated polymer compounds. PP-MIPS will generate ~€50 million business growth for its SMEs within a 3 year period.
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