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Polymer stabilisers for the polyurethane market

Great Lakes Chemical Corporation : 01 October, 2003  (Technical Article)
Great Lakes Chemical Corporation has announced further advancements to its range of polymer stabilisers for polyurethane.
Offering a full line of antioxidants, UV absorbers, and hindered amine light stabilisers (HALS), Great Lakes synergistically combines these additive components into high performance blends for specific polyurethane applications. The company recently launched two blends for polyurethane integral skin applications for the automotive market. Lowilite UV B1211 and Lowilite UV B1260, liquid blends of thermal and light stabilizers, offer low fogging, excellent thermal protection and UV stability.

Lowilite UV B1211 is particularly suited for interior, flexible integral skin automotive applications and Lowilite UV B1260 for outdoor, integral skin applications.

Great Lakes polymer stabilisers protect both the polyol and the polyurethane components against degradation during processing, storage, and conversion. The company’s polymer stabilisers also ensure that the physical and mechanical properties of the components are maintained and significantly extend the life of polyurethane products. For processing stability of polyurethane fibre, the company recently introduced Lowinox 1790, a high performance phenolic antioxidant that offers outstanding resistance to gas fading and extraction, provides better performance, and extends the life of finished goods. Lowinox 1790 shows excellent synergy with secondary antioxidants for long-term heat stabilization

Four innovative flame retardants meet the changing demands of the polyurethane foam market in the US and Europe.

New Firemaster 552, a high performance flame retardant for mechanically cooled, flexible polyurethane foams. Firemaster 552, a phosphorus-bromine flame retardant based on proprietary Great Lakes technology, offers the advantages of the long-established Great Lakes DE-62 flame retardant, such characteristics as superior resistance to foam discolouration and smouldering ignition, reduced effect on the physical properties of the foam, and excellent hydrolytic stability. However, Firemaster 552 is not based on brominated diphenyl ether (BDE) chemistry. Polyurethane foams formulated with Firemaster 552 allow foam producers to meet strict fire safety standards for automotive, furniture, bedding, and wide selection of other foam applications.

Firemaster 552 is the latest addition to the Great Lakes Firemaster 550 family, a range of phosphorus-bromine flame retardants for flexible polyurethane foam that helps foam maintain key physical properties during processing and does not promote foam discolouration (scorch).

Firemaster 552 is available in the Americas and Asia-Pacific regions only.

Great Lakes recently introduced Firemaster 520 flame retardant, a highly reactive, proprietary, bromine-containing diol for use with alternative blowing agents in rigid polyurethane and polyisocyanurate (PIR) foam applications.

Historically, flame retardancy for these applications has been achieved by using Great Lakes PHT4-Diol flame retardant or chlorinated phosphate esters. However, with the Montreal protocol calling for phase-out of the standard blowing agent, hydrochlorofluorocarbon, foam manufacturers are revising their formulations to accommodate alternative blowing agents, which require a flame retardant with higher reactivity.

Firemaster 520 flame retardant is effective with alternative blowing agents and, with its primary hydroxyl reactive groups, offers faster reaction rates, lower viscosity, and improved compatibility in water-blown systems. The higher level of reactivity has also been shown to increase line speed in continuous laminating foam machines.

Rigid polyurethane and PIR foams are used in pour-in-place architectural panels and walk-in coolers, spray foam applications, and continuous boardstock products such as roofing and sheathing. In addition, these foams are used in the building and construction industry for thermal insulation, as well as in polyurethane-based adhesives and sealants.

With the flame retardants traditionally used in flexible polyurethane foam-halogen-based pentabromodiphenyl ether (penta-BDE) and chlorinated phosphate ester (TCEP)—under regulatory review, manufacturers of cushioned furniture and automotive and mass transportation seating are also searching for cost-effective alternatives.

In North America, foam manufacturers are looking to high performance, non-BDE (non-bromodiphenyl ether) based additives such as Great Lakes' Firemaster 550 flame retardant. This brominated non-BDE flame retardant is highly efficient for low-density foams and offers superior thermal stability and anti-scorch properties compared to chlorinated phosphate esters. Scorch, where the centre of the foam bun gets too hot and discolours, is a critical issue in regions of high temperature and humidity such as the Southern US and Asia.

For the European automotive foam market, Great Lakes developed Reofos NHP flame retardants, a series of halogen-free, phosphate ester flame retardants that meet MVSS 302 test requirements. Reofos NHP flame retardants provide a cost-effective alternative to chlorinated phosphate esters for the European market and offer excellent low fogging and non-scorch characteristics while maintaining the physical properties of the foam.

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