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06-19-2013

Aimplas: Development of More Ecological Fire-Resistant Plastics

Phoenix, a Collaborative project from the 7th Framework Programme, aims to develop a new generation of fire-resistant plastics refraining from the traditional halogenated additives. Phoenix, with a 4 years duration and coordinated by Aimplas in Spain, is composed of 15 partners from 8 European countries.

Currently, fire-resistant halogenated additives are used in a wide range of commercial items such as electrical and electronic equipment, low-voltage cables or electrical appliances. The elimination of such additives from the composition of these products is important because they are substances hazardous to public health and to the environment and, in fact, its use and recycling are addressed by several European directives such as WEEE and RoHS.

The limitation with non-halogenated additives, currently used in the market as an alternative to the traditional ones, is that they are far less efficient. This means that polymers should contain between 30% and 60% of flame-retardant substances to achieve a better fire performance, while the halogenated polymers are efficient when containing only 15% of additives. However, by incorporating such high filler content in the polymer matrix, the processability and final product properties are significantly reduced whilst the cost of the parts is considerably increased. This severely limiting the range of applications and hindering non-halogenated flame retardant market introduction to replace dangerous halogenated flame retardants.

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