Halogen-free Flame Retardants for Laminating Adhesives: A Sustainability and Design Perspective

Kevin Lifsey

Presented by Kathryn Cosentino, Alpha Engineered Composites

Designing a more sustainable product or process presents a unique technical challenge for engineers to develop solutions that are cost-effective while meeting difficult performance requirements. Rather than considering sustainable development as an isolated initiative, an integrated systems-based approach to technology development with a focus on sustainability can add significant, quantifiable value from a social, environmental, and economic perspective. In this paper, a design approach for halogen-free flame retardants in laminating adhesives will be discussed, as well as the resulting benefits in the context of these three pillars of sustainability.

Bromine-antimony compounds remain the most commonly used fire-retardant additives for industrial laminating adhesives and coatings for building and construction applications, despite a number of serious environmental and human health concerns. The synergistic mechanism of Br-ATO is exceptional for flame inhibition in the gaseous phase. Understanding and replicating this attack mechanism using non-halogenated materials offers an effective solution for meeting these fire safety standards, while staying ahead of increasing global regulations restricting the use of halogens. Performance and processability of novel phosphorus-based FR chemistries for aqueous adhesive systems will be evaluated, as well as the relevant social, environmental, and economic impacts of transitioning to these systems.

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