Sizzling demand for halogen-free flame retardants

Innovator FRX Polymers should benefit, as market grows at compound annual 8.4% rate

According to new research, the market size of halogen-free flame retardants, which was $3.36 billion in 2015, is projected to reach $5.38 billion by 2021, registering a CAGR of 8.4% between 2016 and 2021. The new report from MarketsandMarkets, a global market research firm, Halogen-Free Flame Retardants Market , looks at the market by type (aluminum hydroxide, organ-phosphorus and so forth), application (polyolefins, UPE, ETP and others), end-use industry and region.

flame, arztsamui
Image courtesy  arztsamui/
freedigitalphotos.net.

Making flame retardants safer by eliminating toxic chemicals has been an ongoing goal for a number of years. Flame retardants have been used primarily in mattresses, children’s clothing (particularly sleepwear), upholstered furniture and casings around electronics. Many of these flame retardants contained brominated chemicals (polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs), a class of organohalogens that were found to be toxic to humans.

According to an article, “ Stop Playing ‘Whack-A-Mole’ with Toxic Flame Retardants, Health Advocates Urge ," written by Lynne Peeples, Environment and Public Health Reporter at the Huffington Post , Congress banned PCBs because of health concerns, and “replaced them with a chemical cousin, polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE).” The problem with PBDEs is that they can migrate out of the materials into human beings through such innocuous means as house dust. Thus, the search for non-halogenated flame retardants.

One of the active players in the development of flame-retardant materials is FRX Polymers LLP. The Chelmsford, MA–based company won Frost & Sullivan’s Product Innovation of the Year Award in 2008 and 2013 for its environmentally friendly family of inherently flame-retardant plastics. In 2008, Frost & Sullivan wrote that the award was given to FRX Polymers “in recognition of the company’s creation of a new class of novel, high-performance, flame-retardant polymers that are used as transparent, high melt flow, non-burning specialty plastics technology and as polymeric phosphorus-containing flame-retardant additives. The company’s technology is far reaching in that it facilitates functional improvements in a variety of products: Electric and electronic devices, household equipment such as television set housings and kitchen appliances, electronic equipment housings (computers, fax machines, cell phones, PDAs, printers) and all types of electrical connectors and internals.”

In 2013, Frost & Sullivan noted that “FRX Polymers’ Nofia product has the ability to replace bromine-based and competitive halogen-free flame-retardant additives in commercial and industrial applications. The Nofia brand of inherently flame-retardant plastics and additives have the ability to address end-user needs for environmentally friendly non-toxic flame retardants. Frost & Sullivan research clearly shows that Nofia can be used to enhance the flame-retardant characteristics without changing the inherent characteristics of the targeted polymer or resin.”

On May 10, 2016, FRX Polymers and China’s Shengyi Technology Co. announced the joint development of a new copper-clad laminate (CCL) product with greatly improved dielectric properties compared with commercial halogen-free systems. The new CCL, based on FRX Polymers’ Nofia FR hardener system, is in the low loss region (0.005 - 0.010) with accompanying low dielectric constant. The breakthrough technology was unveiled in a joint technical paper presented at the IPC Expo in Las Vegas on March 17. The new CCL technology is expected to find initial applications in

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