New flame retardant enters market

Chemists from Empa have developed an environmentally friendly way to produce flame retardants for foams that can be used in mattresses and upholstery. Two of the research institute’s industrial partners are now launching the innovation on the market.

Foam sample in a flame test in the laboratory. Source: Empa -

“Eda-Dopo” is going into serial production.

Already 1.5 tons produced

The synthesis method also simplifies the production of other “Dopo” derivatives. The company Metadynea Austria GmbH will manufacture the material and, if there is sufficient demand, the global Foampartner Group will use it to produce flame-retardant polyurethane foams for upholstery and mattresses. Since the new method of production of “Dopo” derivatives was patented in June 2017, Metadynea Austria has already produced around 1.5 tons of the flame retardant.

Non-toxic – even in case of fire

This constitutes the first step towards replacing conventional, halogenated flame retardants, which are sometime toxic and give off toxic gases in the event of a fire. “Eda-Dopo” – a derivative of the familiar flame retardant Dopo (9,10-dihydro-10-oxa-phosphaphenanthreneoxide) – does not emit these toxins. Furthermore, the foam material containing this flame retardant satisfies the highest flame retardant classification (UL 94 HB). The product was developed in a two-year research project within the scope of the Eureka Suspur project.

REACH certification currently underway

Although foam production with the new flame retardant is already underway, products containing the product will not be on sale just yet; the flame retardant is currently being certified in accordance with the European chemical regulation REACH. The foam samples produced are presently undergoing diverse flame tests to enable the new flame-retardant foams to hit the global markets as quickly as possible once they obtain their certification.

Mandatory for public areas

Flame-retardant upholstery is especially mandatory for areas where many people gather: planes, trains, buses, hotels and restaurants. Flame retardants prevent materials from being ignited, such as with cigarettes or by vandals. However, the environmental standards keep getting stringent here, too. Consequently, there is a growing need for modern, harmless alternatives all over the world.

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