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FLAME RETARDANTS: PREVENTING FIRES AND PROTECTING PEOPLE

Date

18 Mar 2021

Sections

Climate & Environment

The International Bromine Council (BSEF) launched new educational tool  entitled ‘Flame retardants: Preventing fires and protecting people’”, which aims to raise awareness about the origins, applications and importance of flame retardants in our everyday lives.

Fire retardancy is an essential component of modern building and product safety. By helping to prevent fires or reducing their rate of spread, effective flame retardants can extend the time available for action and intervention. This makes flame retardants an essential layer of fire safety strategies.

FLAME RETARDANTS – AT THE CORE OF FIRE SAFET

 

A key driver behind the science of fire retardancy is changing societal demands. Peoples’ expectations of comfort, convenience, cost-effectiveness and reliability – be it in their home, their office, their car – are constantly increasing.

We work, we travel, we carry electronic devices, and we rightly expect the setting and the equipment to be a safe as possible. In addition, we take it for granted that we can routinely use a wide range of electronic devices within these settings. Yet without adequate flame retardancy, all of these could pose a potential fire risk. The same applies to the furniture and furnishings that surround us.

“In the specialty chemicals arena, there are very few substances that can lay claim to such a societal benefit as life safety. We in BSEF can therefore take pride in our industry’s contributions in this field” says Kasturirangan Kannah, Chair of the Board of Directors at BSEF.

Bromine is widely used as the basis for organic flame retar­dants in plastics used in electrical and electronic equipment, including large and small domestic appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines, as well as in televisions and computers. It is also deployed in plastics used for trans­port applications – cars, trains and aeroplanes – and can be applied to the foams used in furniture and other soft fittings.Due to its unique interaction with the combustion process, bromine is an extremely efficient flame-retardant tech­nology. This means that a relatively small amount is required to achieve the required flame resistance.

In addition to more information on Bromine based flame retardants, this new educational resource delves into the concept of fire safety, recognised as a complex and continuously evolving science that dates back more than 3,000 years. It further examines the evolution of this science by demonstrating the concrete ways in which flame retardants ensure fire safety. These include disrupting combustion, insulating the fuel from the heat source and diluting the flammable gases and concentration of oxygen in the flame.

 

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