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08/Apr/2021
Updated comprehensive overview about flame retardants available
The article about flame retardants in ULLMANN'
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07/Dec/2020
During "European Fire Safety Week" Pinfa informs about fire safety for e-mobility
As in previous months, conferences and information
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13/Nov/2020
RoHS and potential additional flame-retardant bans in Europe
  In the past, the growing amount of elect
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09/Oct/2020
Electronics Goes Green 2020+ brings together participants from the "green electronics sector" online
Despite the continuing corona crisis, conferences
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26/May/2020
US EPA - Current risk assessment and consultation for a chlorinated alkylphosphate ester, triphenylphosphate and tetrabromo-bisphenol-A
Chemicals, and thus also flame retardants, are inc
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06/Jan/2020
Pinfa China E&E workshop addresses fast growing 5G technology
November 21, 2019, Shanghai. Pinfa China succes
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Fire initiation and combustion process

When does it burn?

The fire triangle demonstrates that three factors

  • fuel
  • heat
  • air (oxygen)

must coincide in order for anything to burn.


The combustion process

The three factors mentioned above are related to each other in the combustion process: the combustion of plastics will be taken as an example in the following.

The combustion of plastics is a process comprising many steps and basically initiated by a heat source initiating the decomposition of the polymer. These two steps, heating and decomposition of the polymer consume energy (endothermic process) for overcoming the high binding energies between individual atoms (200 to 400 kJ/mole).

Combustible gases are formed, which mix the oxygen of the air and ignite. This leads to the exothermic part of the process, i. e. flame propagation and heat release. Pyrolysis of the polymer is reinfoced by thermal feedback (heat release), which fuels the flame at an increasing level. The flame is supported by extremely high energy H· and OH· radicals, which confer a high velocity to the flame.


Flame retardants may inhibit the chemical reactions in the flame by removing the high energy radicals, or initiate the formation of a charred layer on the surface. Thus, the polymer is protected against the attack of heat and oxygen of the air and prevents the formation of flammable gas mixtures.