The last 10-20 years have seen an increase in the amount and variety of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) in houses, offices and all sorts of other public buildings. At the same time, the design of electrical and electronic equipment has changed just as radically, with the most obvious changes being an increased use of plastics and a tendency towards miniaturization.
However, the increased use of plastics (ABS among them) means that the fire hazard of E&E equipment has become an increasingly important issue.
It is therefore vital for home and office safety that E&E plastics resist ignition from possible internal and external heat sources as long as possible and result in little or no contribution to heat release in the case of a fire developing outside the equipment.
The Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) and waste electric and electronic equipment (WEEE) directives discouraged the use of halogenated flame retardants in electric and electronic devices. For this reason, effective non halogenated alternatives have to be developed. The project aims at developing new halogen free flame retardant (HFFR) for ABS (acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene) compounds, which are widely use in the electric appliances sector, by means of smart nanocomposite structures acting not only as inert fillers (physical action), but also bringing a chemical action in the fire retardancy process.
The new expected properties are:
- Formation of a reinforced intumescent charred layer that improve flame retardant, thermal stability and smoke suppressant properties
- Decrease flame retardant needed concentration with an improvement of mechanical and rheological properties.
In order to reach these improvements, nanofillers will be combined with phosphorous-based flame retardants, either a) by Physical Combination (PC) of flame retardants and nanofillers in proper mixtures or b) by Chemical Combination (CC) of nanofillers with flame retardants to be dispersed in the polymer by melt blending or melt reactive blending.