Polyethylene is a general-purpose polymer composed of ethylene monomer units. It is classified into various types based on density such as high density polyethylene (HDPE), low-densityhigh-density polyethylene (LDPE) and linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE). PE has excellent chemical resistance, electrical insulation and low moisture absorption. However, its flammability has been a concern in various applications.
Alfa Chemistry offers a wide range of flame retardant PE masterbatch solutions. Flame retardant PE masterbatch is a concentrated mixture of flame retardant additives dispersed in a PE carrier resin. It is specially formulated to provide flame retardancy to PE-based products without affecting their mechanical properties. Masterbatch is typically produced through a blending process in which the additive is mixed with the PE resin in precise proportions.
Additives in PE Masterbatch
Below are some examples of commonly used flame retardant additives in PE masterbatches:
- Halogenated flame retardants: e.g. bromine or chlorine-based additives. These additives work by releasing halogen radicals during the combustion process, which react with the free radicals and inhibit the combustion process. Examples include brominated flame retardants (e.g. DecaBDE) and chlorinated flame retardants (e.g. chlorinated paraffins).
- Phosphorus-based flame retardants: They act to promote the formation of char, thereby acting as thermal insulation and a protective barrier to flame. Phosphorus-based flame retardants can be incorporated into PE masterbatch by means of various compounds (e.g. phosphates, phosphonates or phosphorus-containing polyols).
- IIntumescent additives: They react chemically when exposed to heat or flame to form an insulating charcoal layer that expands and broadens to form a barrier that slows the spread of fire. Commonly used swelling agents include ammonium polyphosphate (APP) and melamine derivatives.
- Antimony trioxide: Although Sb2O3 is not a flame retardant by itself, it is commonly used as a synergist in combination with other flame retardant additives. It enhances the flame retardant properties of other additives by promoting carbon formation and reducing smoke.
Applications for Flame Retardant PE Masterbatches
- Building and construction materials: Flame-retardant PE masterbatch is used in the production of pipes, cables, wires, insulation and waterproof roofing membranes.
- Automotive: PE masterbatch is incorporated into automotive components such as interior trim, wiring harnesses and under-the-hood applications.
- Electronics and appliances: Flame retardant PE masterbatches are used in the production of electrical enclosures, connectors and cable insulation.
- Packaging: PE masterbatch is used in flame retardant films, sheets and containers. This is particularly important for applications where flammable materials are stored or transported.
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