Flame retardant foams with UltraCarb

Our customers use either UltraCarb or FireCarb in the manufacture of foams as a flame retardant filler or intumescent additive.

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Paul Pasquino

Paul Pasquino

President / Managing Director Americas

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Flexible elastomeric foams

The industry widely uses flexible elastomeric foams (FEF’s) for thermal and acoustic insulation in air-conditioning and heating installations. Such materials are more or less solely based upon two different rubbers:

  • nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR), often blended with polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
  • or ethylene propylene diene rubber (EPDM).

NBR and NBR/PVC based FEF’s are the most widespread polymers for standard FEF’s while companies use EPDM mainly for applications requiring higher temperature resistance, e.g. solar applications.

PVC resins are blended with NBR to provide increased resistance to ozone and abrasion. Also, PVC has the effect of increasing the level of fire retardancy, and you can further improve this by the addition of flame retardant fillers.


Selecting the correct Flame Retardant(FR) filler

It is essential that the flame retardant fillers are sufficiently fine enough to maintain a good foam structure. At the same time, the filler should have a relatively high surface area per gram because this benefits the bubble structure inside the foam.

LKAB Minerals’ UltraCarb LH15 C and UltraCarb 1251 meet these criteria perfectly.

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UltraCarb rock and powder

Polyurethane foams

Applications such as automotive and furniture use polyurethane (PU) foams. When PU foams need to have fire resistance properties, you can add expandable graphite into the isocyanates + polyol mix. As a result, this will give intumescent properties to the foam.

In case of a fire or when heated above a certain temperature, expandable graphite will expand and create a protective carbonaceous char that insulates very effectively the rest of the foam from the heat source.

LKAB Minerals can supply various grades of FireCarb (expandable graphite) with different expansion rates, particle sizes and onset T of expansion.

For detailed information on UltraCarb product grades, FireCarb or other technical support regarding our industrial minerals, please contact us by phone or email via below contact form.