Flame Retardant Chemicals: Ensuring Safety Across Industries

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30 views 18 December 2023
Halogen Flame Retardant
Halogen Flame Retardant | Photo: Alfa Chemistry

Flame Retardant Chemicals Market

Flame retardant market, driven by safety concerns, projects $9.13 billion by 2023. Non-halogenated products lead; key sectors include construction and electronics.

With the growing emphasis on safety regulations and increasing concern for fire hazards across various industries, the flame-retardant chemicals market has witnessed significant growth in recent years.

According to relevant flame-retardant market analysis reports, the global flame-retardant market will be worth up to US$9.13 billion in 2023. The application fields of flame retardants are widely distributed in construction, electronics, automobiles, textiles and various consumer goods.

Important market trends

  • In terms of flame-retardant products, non-halogenated flame retardants held the largest revenue share at 60.9% in 2022 and are expected to grow at the fastest CAGR of 8.0% during the forecast period.
  • In terms of flame-retardant applications, the polyolefin segment held the largest revenue share at approximately 26.6% in 2022 and is expected to grow at the fastest CAGR of 7.7% during the forecast period.
  • In terms of end-use, the electrical and electronics segment held the largest revenue share in 2022 at 38.3%. Furthermore, with the growth of the construction industry and increasing awareness about the importance of fire protection, the construction segment was another major segment accounting for 28.1% of the overall revenue share in 2020.

The Action Mechanism of Flame Retardants

Flame retardant is a very complex process. In fact, many flame-retardant systems may involve multiple flame-retardant mechanisms at the same time, including:

  • condensed phase flame retardant
  • gas phase flame retardant
  • free radical capture
  • cooling mechanism
  • synergistic mechanism.

Condensed phase flame retardant: Flame retardant forms a condensed phase on the polymer surface at high temperatures, which isolates air, prevents heat transfer, and reduces the release of flammable gases.

Vapor phase flame retardant: Flame retardants can decompose a large amount of non-flammable gases when heated, such as CO2, N2, NH3, H2O, HCl, and HBr, which can dilute flammable gases and dilute the oxygen concentration in the combustion zone.

Free radical capture: Flame retardants capture and destroy HO· and H· free radicals generated during polymer combustion, cut off the free radical chain reaction, and control combustion.

Cooling mechanism: Flame retardants undergo endothermic dehydration, phase change, decomposition or other endothermic reactions to reduce the temperature of the polymer surface and combustion zone.

Synergistic mechanism: Utilize the interaction between flame retardants to improve flame retardant effectiveness. Effective synergistic flame-retardant systems include antimony-halogen, phosphorus-halogen, phosphorus-nitrogen and antimony-halogen systems.

Popular Flame-Retardant Chemicals

Halogenated flame retardants: Halogenated flame retardants mainly include a variety of compounds containing chlorine and bromine, which can be used to protect many types of plastics and textiles. For example, tetrabromobisphenol-A is commonly used in the manufacture of printed circuit boards, plastic and rubber products, textiles and foams.

Phosphorus flame retardants: Phosphorus flame retardants can be further divided into inorganic phosphorus flame retardants and organic phosphorus flame retardants. Most of them have the advantages of low smoke, non-toxic, low halogen, and halogen-free. Representative phosphorus flame retardants include ammonium polyphosphate (APP), phosphaphenanthrene (DOPO) and phosphate ester flame retardants.

Nitrogen flame retardants: Nitrogen-based flame retardants can be used in nylon, polyolefin, polyurethane foam and flame-retardant coatings. Melamine-based products are the most commonly used type of nitrogen flame retardants, such as melamine cyanurate and melamine phosphate.

Inorganic flame retardants: This type of flame retardant is usually a mineral or compound that releases water or other inert gases when heated. Some common examples of inorganic flame retardants include aluminum hydroxide, magnesium hydroxide, borates, and silicates.

Halogenated flame retardants icon.arrow--dark

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Alfa Chemistry

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