Clariant: A new generation of flame retardants

The 11th internationally renowned Flame Retardants Conference will be held in London, England on 27/28 January 2004. The Pigments & Additives Division is using this opportunity to present two innovative flame retardants from the Exolit® OP range. These non-halogenated, highly effective additives have been specifically developed for use in glass-fibre reinforced thermoplastics. They are also the subject of a lecture “A New Generation of Flame Retarded Polyamides based on Phosphinates”, which Dr. Sebastian Hörold of BU Plastic Industries will be giving on Tuesday, 27 January.

Exolit OP 1311 (TP) and 1312 (TP) are two flame retardants based on metal phosphinates. For use in glass-fibre reinforced polyamides, they also contain suitable synergists. Both flame retardants are characterised by a high Comparative Tracking Index (CTI) of 600 Volt and low compound density. In contrast to the usual halogenated flame retardants, Exolit OP hardly affects the mechanical properties of the compound. Only small amounts are needed to achieve a flame retardant classification of UL 94 V0 or a Glow Wire Flammability Index (GWFI) of 960°C. These amounts are well below those required by other systems, with the exception of red phosphorus.

Furthermore, Exolit OP 1311 and 1312 are easily dispersible, have good rheological properties and can be easily coloured. There are also no problems when using them for injection moulding. However, the manufacture of complex shapes often requires high temperatures and high injection speeds. Exolit OP 1312 offers a specially stabilised system for Polyamid 6.6 which withstands the highest stresses. The main use of this additive is in flame retarded injection mouldings for the electrical and electronic industries, two areas where stringent fire performance standards apply.

Both products are registered in Europe (ELINCS) and in the United States (TSCA) and registration in Japan (METI) is currently in progress. A pilot plant is at present in use at Clariant for product development and commercial introduction. A large-scale plant is under construction at Knapsack, Germany and will be operational by the end of 2004.

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