17 Mar How flame retardants prevent fires and protect people
The safety of modern buildings and consumer products relies heavily on flame retardants. These key components help consumers stay safe and prevent the spread of fires.
Flame retardants slow the spread of flames, maximising the time for intervention and to escape. They ensure fire safety in three ways:
- They disrupt combustion.
- They insulate the fuel from the heat source.
- They dilute the flammable gases and concentration of oxygen in the flame.
These are some of the many learnings encapsulated in BSEF’s new brochure and website entitled ‘Flame retardants: Preventing fires and protecting people’, which aims to raise awareness about the origins, applications and importance of flame retardants in our everyday lives.
Bromine is widely used as the basis for organic flame retardants in plastics used in electrical and electronic equipment, including large and small domestic appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines, as well as in televisions and computers. It is also deployed in plastics used for transport applications – cars, trains and aeroplanes – and can be applied to the foams used in furniture and other soft fittings.
Due to its unique interaction with the combustion process, bromine is an extremely efficient flame-retardant technology. This means that a relatively small amount is required to achieve the required flame resistance.
This new educational resource delves into the concept of fire safety, recognised as a complex and continuously evolving science that dates back more than 3,000 years. It further examines the evolution of this science by demonstrating the concrete ways in which flame retardants ensure fire safety. These include disrupting combustion, insulating the fuel from the heat source and diluting the flammable gases and concentration of oxygen in the flame.
Learn more about how flame retardants prevent fires and protect people in BSEF’s latest publication.