The 13th European Meeting on Fire Retardant Polymers (FRPM11)

The 13th European Meeting on Fire Retardant Polymers (FRPM11), 26 to 30 June 2011, took place in Alessandria, Italy, with 150 participants from all over the world, mainly from academia and industry.

The conference topics covered fundamental aspects of reaction to fire and flame retardancy, new developments in the flame retardancy of polymers, fibres and textiles, advanced flame retardant systems and industrial applications, environmental aspects and trends in fire safety standardisation.

During the 4 conference days, 7 sessions took place with 9 plenary lectures from invited speakers and 39 oral presentations. In addition, a poster session with 47 posters presented by researchers from universities and institutes showed the numerous activities in fire science.   

In this conference, phosphorous appeared to be the element of choice for flame retardancy, as a series of papers dealt with phosphorous flame retardants in various polymers such as new phosphonates and P/N systems in polyolefin films, organic and inorganic metal phosphinates in engineering plastics (polyamides and PBT), several derivatives of DOPO (9, 10-Dihydro-9-Oxa-10-Phosphaphenanthrene-10-Oxide) in polyester fibres and epoxies. The role of phosphorous species from these flame retardants as scavengers in the gas phase has been alluded to in several papers. In addition, the synergistic effect of phosphorous with other elements and substances such as nitrogen (phosphazenes), silicon and sulfur was demonstrated in other papers.

The interest in nanocomposites is still strong, but decreasing, as the main research work has been done and a flame retardant effect is only demonstrated in conjunction with conventional flame retardant systems.            

Besides these halogenfree developments, it was interesting to note that polymeric brominated flame retardants are still developed for many applications. One new flame retardant presented was polymeric brominated polybutadiene-polystyrene (BrPBPS) containing aliphatic bromine. It has been developed for substituting hexabromocyclo-dodecane (HBCD), which will be banned for environmental reasons in 2015. 

Other papers reported on biopolymers and their flame retardancy, thermosets, fibres and fabrics and their fire performance when using specific flame retardant formulations. An overview on fire safety regulations and tests in building, transportation and electrics/electronics showed the developments and trends in these fields.

 Finally, several papers dealt with environmental aspects of flame retardants, their role in smoke development and in the toxicity of fire effluents. 

The FRPM11 conference gave a broad overview on the fire retardancy activities in academia and industry of the leading actors in research and application in Europe, the USA and China. The conference programme is available under: