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Conference on polymers in E&E highlights advances in flame retardants technology

Exolit_for_Thermosets Since 2006, the South-German polymer institute SKZ hosts an annual conference on polymers for electric and electronic applications. The idea is to bring together the players of the related value chain, like additive and polymer producers, compounders, injection moulders and the end users – the E&E equipment manufacturers from white good to electrical installations, lighting to automotive companies. This year’s event featured three presentations related to flame retardants. Michael Roth from BASF explained that the real challenge in commercial FR compounds is not the flame retardancy but rather dealing with “side effects” from flame retardants like their impact on equipment (e.g. corrosion) and material properties. Effective strategies include the right choice of materials as well as optimizing formulations with synergists and secondary additives to keep side effects in check. Jürgen Stebani from Polymaterials explained modern combinatorial and high-throughput methods for optimizing formulations. Reiner Lehrer from VDE looked at the regulatory side of fire safety for household equipment – he described the different options and strategies to fulfil the required norms, including the option to certify materials or test the end article. The German VDE institute issues certificate similar to Underwriters’ Laboratories (UL) in the USA.