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Clariant’s halogen-free flame retardants lock in safe fire protection for new class of natural oil based, renewable polyurethane foams

  • Halogen-free, non-migratory Exolit® OP 560 flame retardant remains fixed in renewable PU foams
  • 80% less flame retardant required to pass California TB117 flammability test
  • Supporting upholstery sector’s move toward renewable materials and environmental protection without compromising fire safety

Muttenz, November 22, 2013 - Clariant, a world leader in specialty chemicals, is supporting the use of Green Chemistry to create safer, fire retarded polyurethane (PU) foams for the upholstery sector. Research by Green Urethanes Ltd, the provider of green solutions to the global PU industry, confirms that manufacturers can use reactive halogen-free flame retardant Exolit® OP 560 with this technology to develop low emission flexible foams that meet internationally accepted flammability standards such as Cal TB 117 (California Technical Bulletin 117, a flammability test for upholstered furniture using a small flame).

In the furniture and bedding industries, large quantities of non-reactive flame retardants are traditionally used to achieve flame resistance for flexible foams. These flame retardants, which are merely physically mixed into the foam, can migrate out of the foam matrix and are associated with adverse environmental and health consequences.

"Clariant’s Exolit OP 560 phosphonate liquid flame retardant addresses these concerns by eliminating unwanted emissions. The grade chemically reacts into the PU foam polymer and therefore does not migrate and remains fixed within a foam formulation, also resulting in reduced amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs)." comments Adrian Beard, Clariant’s Head of Marketing for flame retardants. The phosphonate’s high effectiveness and high polymer compatibility allows it to be used at low dosage in the foam matrix, which adds to its overall sustainability. By applying Green Urethanes’ unique processing characteristics, the amount of flame retardant required for flexible foam to pass the smolder and open flame tests in California TB 117 is reduced by 80%. Further benefits for PU applications include excellent ageing stability, low smoke density and smoke gas corrosivity, and good recyclability.   Green Urethane’s Technology is already available in the US market and uses Natural Oil Polyols (NOP) to produce a range of standard foams for the North American bedding and furniture industries. These more natural foams are easier to produce, and provide better comfort and durability than petrochemical based foams. They have a total bio-renewable content of approximately 35% by weight.

Jeff Rowlands, Director of Green Urethanes Limited comments: "By using these advances in Green Chemistry, the original safety objectives of Cal TB 117 are still being met; but now with the added assurance that it comes with long-term environmental protection from undesirable emissions. These are positive developments for the upholstery sector and also provide a route to reducing the environmental impact of all foam types, including those made for uses which do not need to meet the Cal TB 117 test criteria."


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