Flame retardants are additive chemicals used in materials to either slowdown or completely prevent the catching of fire by a product. Flame retardant polyurethanes (PU) are used in several industries and has various applications. These polyurethanes are an important part of many products in industries such as transportation, machinery, packaging, electronics and many more have need such PU foams. There is a wide range of flame retardants — depending on the chemical property and structure.
Brominated & organophosphorus flame retardants are the most common flame retardants. Brominated flame retardants are helpful in preventing or slowing down fire in furniture, construction materials, electronic items and vehicles such as cars, planes, trains and boats. This PU foam also finds application in the medical industry as well as packaging industry.
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE’s) are chemicals added to products to meet flammability standards. Since these do not chemically attach themselves to the products they are susceptible to be discharged into air causing harmful health effects.
Tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) is used in electronic items like the circuit boards as well as in textiles and paper. TBBPA is the world’s most highly produced brominated flame retardant.
Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) is an additive flame retardant used in the manufacturing of polystyrene foam building materials.
With emphasis on sustainable practices growing in many more industries such as construction, PU manufacturers are optimistic of producing material that is eco-friendly. Polyurethane offers the highest insulation R-values per inch. Manufacturers have increased the usage of rigid polyurethane foam in the manufacturing of items such as refrigerators, water heaters, freezers, vending machines, etc. Polyurethanes play a key role in improving the fuel efficiency of automobiles as well as aid in the design of smaller, lighter and safer automobiles. In fact the transportation industry uses PU in all forms – flexible foams, rigid foams, as coatings, as adhesives, as sealants. The versatility of flexible foam polyurethane is because it is lightweight, durable, malleable and resilient and absorbs sound and energy.
Rigid PU foam is used in vehicle panels for absorbing sound & energy. Polyurethane coating is applied on vehicles for gloss, scratch resistance and rust prevention. Polyurethane adhesives are used in automobiles to hold the carpet, trim and window seals.