Chemistry 2011.org
Chemistry2011.org
All About Chemistry... 2011 and beyond
Materials, materials

Related Stories

Non-toxic flame retardants

July 23, 2013 — Flame retardants are often extremely harmful to health. Despite this, they are found in many types of synthetic materials which would otherwise ignite quickly. Empa researchers have now succeeded in producing non-harmful flame retardants.

Synthetic materials made from organic polymers usually burn very well due to their high carbon content; when turned into foams, they ignite even more easily -- and, depending on their chemical compositions, they produce toxic gases such as hydrogen cyanide or carbon monoxide. For this reason, polyurethane foams and other similar products have to be treated with flame retardants. These foam materials are widely used in upholstered furniture and mattresses, as insulation and packaging materials and as expanding spray foams.

Conventional halogenated flame retardants such as tri(chloropropyl) phosphate (TCPP) or some polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) are suspected of being harmful to health and the environment: a number of these substances are extremely persistent and accumulate in the environment, have hormone-like effects and are even thought to be carcinogenic. Non-harmful replacements are therefore called for. These are exactly what Empa researchers have developed in conjunction with Swiss company FoamPartner within the scope of a project sponsored by the Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI).

Healthier, more environmentally friendly and with no additional cost

The novel flame retardants are organic phosphorus-containing compounds, so-called phosphoramidates. The Empa researchers synthesised several of these substances (which differ from each other in terms of the type of amine substituents attached to the phosphorus) and added them to the polyurethane foam in increasing concentrations. First results indicate that the flame retardants did not have a negative effect on the foam manufacturing process. As a result, conventional agents that are harmful to health may soon be a thing of the past. The research results have recently been accepted by the professional journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research and authorised for publication.


Journal Reference:

  1. Matthias Neisius, Shuyu Liang, Henri Mispreuve, Sabyasachi Gaan. Phosphoramidate-Containing Flame-Retardant Flexible Polyurethane Foams. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, 2013; : 130710154004003 DOI: 10.1021/ie400914u

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

The source of this article can be found at: http://www.empa.ch/plugin/template/empa/3/138581/---/l%3D2" rel="nofollow

Share this story with your friends!

Social Networking

Please recommend us on Facebook, Twitter and more:

Other social media tools

Global Partners
Feedback

Tell us what you think of Chemistry 2011 -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?

About us

Chemistry2011 is an informational resource for students, educators and the self-taught in the field of chemistry. We offer resources such as course materials, chemistry department listings, activities, events, projects and more along with current news releases.

Events & Activities

Are you interested in listing an event or sharing an activity or idea? Perhaps you are coordinating an event and are in need of additional resources? Within our site you will find a variety of activities and projects your peers have previously submitted or which have been freely shared through creative commons licenses. Here are some highlights: Featured Idea 1, Featured Idea 2.

About you

Ready to get involved? The first step is to sign up by following the link: Join Here. Also don’t forget to fill out your profile including any professional designations.

Global Partners