Clariant is marketing products to meet demand for fire retarded polyurethane (PU) foams for the upholstery sector. Research by Green Urethanes Ltd, a specialist in adding green credentials to PU foams, says that manufacturers can use Clariant’s reactive halogen-free flame retardant Exolit OP 560 to manufacture low emission flexible foams that meet internationally accepted flammability standards such as Cal TB 117 (California Technical Bulletin 117, a flammability test for upholstered furniture using a small flame).
In the furniture and bedding industries, large quantities of non-reactive flame retardants are traditionally used to achieve flame resistance for flexible foams. These flame retardants, which are merely physically mixed into the foam, can migrate out of the foam matrix and are associated with adverse environmental and health consequences.
“Clariant’s Exolit OP 560 phosphonate liquid flame retardant addresses these concerns by eliminating unwanted emissions. The grade chemically reacts into the PU foam polymer and therefore does not migrate and remains fixed within a foam formulation, also resulting in reduced amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs)” said Adrian Beard, Clariant’s Head of Marketing for flame retardants. The phosphonate’s high polymer compatibility allows it to be used at low dosage in the foam matrix, which adds to its overall sustainability, says Clariant.
The amount of flame retardant required for flexible foam to pass the smolder and open flame tests in California TB 117 is reduced by 80%.
Green Urethane’s Technology uses Natural Oil Polyols (NOP) to produce a range of standard foams for the bedding and furniture industries. They have a total bio-renewable content of approximately 35% by weight.
Jeff Rowlands, Director of Green Urethanes Limited commented: “By using these advances in Green Chemistry, the original safety objectives of Cal TB 117 are still being met; but now with the added assurance that it comes with long-term environmental protection from undesirable emissions. These are positive developments for the upholstery sector and also provide a route to reducing the environmental impact of all foam types including those made for uses which do not need to meet the Cal TB 117 test criteria.”