12th National and 2nd International Conference on „Trends in Fire safety and Innovative Flame Retardants for Plastics

The 12th National and 2nd International Conference on „Trends in Fire safety and Innovative Flame Retardants for Plastics " took place on 23-24 May 2012 in Würzburg, Germany, at the „Süddeutsches Kunststoff-Zentrum" SKZ. 

The main topics of the conference were new trends in fire safety regulations and testing, innovative flame retardants and flame retarded polymer systems, as well as health and environmental developments (REACh and indoor emissions).  

The first section on fire safety regulations and testing started with a paper on fire hazards testing of electrotechnical and electronic (E&E) products with particular emphasis on consumer and IT electronics (external ignition sources), appliances (glow wire tests), and examples for their use in product standards. Two presentations dealt with developments in transportation: The latest status of European harmonisation and standardisation for the fire behaviour of materials used in railways according to CEN/TS 45545-2 was presented; after 14 years of work, the standard is now foreseen to be introduced in 2013. Catastrophic bus fires have shown that the existing fire safety requirements are by far too low; international activities to improve fire safety and a German study with a fire test program and numerical simulations of fire scenarios were discussed. The fire safety situation for insulation foams in building in Europe and new trends for China were the focus of the following presentation. A contribution on the NATO-wide harmonisation of fire tests (STANAG 4602) and the comparison of civil and military fire safety requirements closed this session.  

The next session dealt with innovative flame retardants and flame retarded polymer systems and started with an overview on flame retarded composites as a "journey from nano to intermediate scale", explaining the main flame retardancy mechanisms and mode of action of flame retardants. Three papers were given on new developments in polymeric halogenated and halogenfree polymers for use in E&E as well as in polystyrene foams for building; in addition, new approaches to reduce or eliminate the use of antimony trioxide were shown. Halogenfree intumescent and other systems for polypropylene were further presented. An overview paper on flame retardant systems used in compounds and masterbatches discussed their applications in practice. In a quite interesting contribution, a new family of phosphorus-based flame retardants for printed circuit boards (FR4 epoxy laminates) was presented: the new flame retardant systems with high phosphorus content have excellent properties.

The last session started with an overview and current status of REACh. The complexity of this legal framework, the significance of information exchange, consortia, dossiers and particularly the growing importance of safety data sheets with the new requirements for chemical safety assessment and exposure scenarios, were discussed in detail. The conference closed with a paper on new national requirements for emissions from construction products, which, taking wall coverings as an example, showed that CE-marked products have to meet additional national requirements (Germany, France), which are not welcomed by the European Commission.    

The conference programme is available under: http://www.skz.de/m_101893