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What is Flame Retardant?

What is Flame Retardant?2016.11.23

We’ve been talking about fireproofing things; it is more than likely that you have heard the term flame retardants come up. Flame retardant is a substance that can help prevent combustion of an object. A fire retardant is a chemical agent that can be applied to everything from clothing to building materials. Fire is a serious issue, especially if you live in a hot, dry climate. But regardless where you are, if you smell smoke, you want to be able to handle the issue before it gets too bad. That's why it's good to treat fabrics and other materials with fire retardant.

The term flame retardant subsumes a diverse group of chemicals which are added to manufactured materials, such as plastics and textiles, and surface finishes and coatings. Flame retardants inhibit or delay the spread of fire by suppressing the chemical reactions in the flame or by the formation of a protective layer on the surface of a material. They may be mixed with the base material (additive flame retardants) or chemically bonded to it (reactive flame retardants). Mineral flame retardants are typically additive while organohalogen and organophosphorus compounds can be either reactive or additive.

Flame Retardant - okchem

Benefits of Flame Retardants

Flame retardants can help stop or slow the spread of fire, depending on the scenario, and provide additional escape time. Experts continue to highlight the life-saving role these chemicals play when they are used in airplanes, cars, building materials and electronics. Flame retardants provide an important layer of protection and help products meet fire safety standards as they are used in innovative ways that make modern life possible. No matter where we go or what we do, chances are our lives are made safer by flame retardants and other fire safety innovations.


Some Considerations of Flame Retardant Selection Criteria

  • Efficiency/Cost
  • Ease of Compounding
  • Adequate Thermal Stability
  • Corrosivity Issues
  • Physical Properties
  • Appearance
  • Compatibility (Migration)
  • Environment/Toxicity
  • UV Stability/Weathering
  • Electrical Properties
  • Combustion Products (corrosives, toxics, smoke)


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