15 June 2021

Flame retardant Silicones: the market is heating up!

Demands for flame retardant silicones are growing. This is mainly due to the stricter safety standards in industry, public transport and aerospace, but also in construction and household appliances.

An increasingly popular requisite coming from designers is for components and materials to be flame-resistant. This means that not only they are difficult to set on fire, but also that, once ignited, they can slow down the flame spread and emit clear, nontoxic smoke.

Silicone is the perfect material to produce articles with these characteristics: it is intrinsically flame retardant thanks to a peculiar chemistry and generates white smoke. More additives can be put into it in order to pass the strictest classes of the required international fire tests for its numerous applications. All this can be done without using halogenated components, at the basis of the traditional flame retardant systems used for organic and plastic, which are becoming more and more limited both on a regulatory level and because of the toxicity of the fumes emitted in case of fire.

Many requests for articles with flame retardant characteristics also come from the automotive sector, because of the process of electrification of propulsion systems and the use of lithium-ion batteries. A well-known risk factor of these energy storage systems is represented by thermal runaway. An uncontrolled increase in temperature of the storage system can lead to a self-fuelled and persistent fire, which can degenerate into an explosion.

The pictures of models of famous e-mobility brands completely destroyed by events of this kind are known to all. Flame retardant silicone rubbers combine flame retardant characteristics with excellent thermal resistance and high thermal conductivity. Thus, they assure long durability to the components placed near the batteries; they also help disperse the heat generated by charging and discharge processes. Lastly, they guarantee proper flame resistance in the unfortunate event of fire.

MESGO has a long experience in researching and producing flame retardant silicone compounds, and in its laboratories, it is possible to test materials in compliance with the main international flame-resistance standards. The technical staff can also assist customers in the approval processes of the articles at the main accredited laboratories. In addition to flame retardant tests, thermal conductibility of compounds can also be accurately tested.

Thanks to strong relationships with silicone polymer compounders and careful development, MESGO is now able to offer a complete portfolio of flame retardant compounds starting from a 30ShA hardness. Especially these low hardness levels represent a novelty for the market. They are suitable for all transformation technologies and can be used to produce flame-resistant products with different geometry and thickness.