Non-halogenated flame retardants as replacement for antimony in brominated systems
FRX Polymers Inc., a specialist in polymeric halogen-free flame retardant solutions, has announced the availability of its Nofia non-halogenated polyphosphonates as a replacement for antimony (ATO) in brominated flame retardant systems. Nofia flame retardants (FRs) serve as a synergist in brominated flame retardant products, delivering lighter weight and reduced cost, according to the company.
“Our unique non-halogenated FR is winning broad support across a range of applications and this new use is another example where Nofia polyphosphonates' versatility stands out,” said Dr. Jan-Pleun Lens, Vice President, Research and Applications, for FRX Polymers. Specifically, Lens noted that the replacement of ATO has been a longtime industry priority due to its high weight per volume (specific gravity) and consequently negative impact on final formulation costs. In addition, ATO is being scrutinized due to toxicity concerns. With ATO prices now increasing worldwide, replacement of ATO has once again become a high priority for many users. FRX Polymers said it has already validated Nofia FR's effectiveness as an ATO replacement in glass-filled nylon 66, polybutylene terephthalate (PBT), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU).
Nofia FRs have a specific gravity of 1.2 and have the added advantage of being polymeric, which means that they will not migrate or bleed out of the host plastic over time. ATO on the other hand has low molecular weight which means that it has a tendency to migrate out of the host plastic over time. It also has about five times higher specific gravity compared to Nofia FRs which means that one must use up to five times more ATO on a weight basis to achieve the same effectiveness compared to Nofia FRs. In typical formulations, the end customer will start to experience a savings per part when using Nofia versus ATO, when ATO prices are higher than about USD 5.5/kg, according to FRX Polymers. In 2017, ATO prices have been on the rise and have so far fluctuated between USD 7.5/kg up to USD 9/kg. Customers who have converted to Nofia are typically saving between 2 to 3.5 cents per part this year, said the company.
Moreover, using Nofia FR eliminates the health and environmental concerns associated with ATO and due to its polymeric nature, Nofia will deliver improved mechanical properties compared to ATO. Nofia FR's transparency is another key benefit which is being explored in clear unfilled PVC systems, said the company. Nofia FR as an ATO replacement is currently under extensive testing and commercial scale-up at many FRX Polymers customers. Nofia phosphonates are produced using sustainable green chemistry principles such as a solvent-free production process, no waste by-products, and near 100 % atom efficiency. FRX was awarded the US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) sustainability award in 2014.