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Published: 25th April 2020
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Fire is undoubtedly nothing to play with and its effects can be devastating. Anyone who has ever witnessed a fire will testify that it can be uncontrollable. This is why millions of dollars have been spent to get rid of this menace. Getting the best material or mechanism to keep people safe from fire is a continuous process and companies are yet, to invest in this technology. There have been many great inventions in the recent past and one of the most notable ones is flame retardant sheets.

What are flame retardants?
Flame retardants are components of a wide range of material and equipment that are designed to reduce the impact that a fire has on a person, property or the environment. These components are used to treat a variety of materials that could potentially be flammable. There are also certain materials that are treated to become flame retardants themselves. One example of this is flame retardant sheets that are used in the manufacture of a variety of structures and equipment is the polycarbonate sheets.

Manufacturers of flame retardant equipment will typically use a wide variety of chemicals that have been tested and proven to work. These chemicals will possess different properties that aid in the reduction of flammability and in the effect of heat or an open fire.

Most common elements for flame retardants
As previously mentioned there is quite range of flame retarding chemicals but there are a few that are more popular than most. A few of these are; phosphorus, bromine, chlorine and nitrogen. These will typically be used in conjunction with a range of inorganic compounds as they do not function alone. Most of these will not be interchangeable and they will most likely be applied to specific situations where they are best suited.

The polycarbonate products are some of the most common finished products that are used across most industries. It for this reason that polycarbonate flame retardants have become household name across most industries.

How retardants work?
Their principle of operation is not that different from that of fire extinguishers. During fire outbreak, the polycarbonate fire retardants do not burn. Their chemical constituents tend to extinguish the fire. In other words, they prevent fires from starting or at the very least limiting the spread and minimizing damage caused by fire. The nature of the individual retardant sheet will depend on the area of application.

Manufacturing the right flame retardant is a challenging process. It involves a controlled manufacturing process. In most cases, the process aims at changing the ignition level of the material to be used as flame retardant. In the past, polycarbonate sheets have proved to be some of the best materials that are used as flame retardants. Some of the most common considerations include:

The source could possibly be an energy source such as a small flame, heat or incandescent material.
The source of the flame could be materials that decompose and consequently release flammable gases.
The source could also be material in solid forms, which tend to smolder and these can mostly be a hidden source of fire. This can be quite dangerous because no one expects the resultant fire.
One of the most common causes of fire is gases and liquid used as fuels and while there are many measures put in place as safety precautions, they are just as dangerous as any other source.

Incorporating a flame retardant into the material itself makes for a better bet than hoping that the fire can be put out once it starts. These retardants work on three basic principles:

1. The first is by disrupting the initial stage of combustion by either delaying or completely avoiding the flash over which is a burst of flames which in most cases renders a fire inescapable especially where it is in a room.
2. The second is by limiting decomposition processes through the physical insulation of fuel sources by providing a layer that has a charring effect and thus preventing potential fires.
3. The third is diluting oxygen concentrations which cause fires to burn hotter and faster. Limiting the supply of oxygen has the effect of starving the fire causing it to burn out.

Flame retardants important uses
Experts know that the polycarbonate flame retardants are important to saving life and property in various scenarios. This means that for each possible fire situation they have thought about and probably come up with a retardant solution. Flame retardant sheets will usually find use in clothing for fire fighter protective gear as well as those who work in high fire risk situations such as around furnaces. This clothing is also meant to withstand high temperatures without igniting and not only keeping the wearer safe but also relatively cool. Sheets are also used to make skirting for areas where there are higher risks of fires breaking out. More and more people are finding new uses for flame retardant sheets which are putting pressure on manufacturers to be more innovative.

Choosing retardant material
Just like any other choice in purchase and application, there are certain factors that both manufacturers and clients consider when purchasing retardants. The very first is exactly where the material is aimed to be used. This being because some materials will not be suitable for certain areas for example due to aesthetic values of the material.

Another factor is the type of fire risk for which the material is meant for. Some risks are of fires that burn at higher temperatures than normal frames which means that the retardant must be meant to withstand this type of flame otherwise it will be not as effective as it should. Such areas call for specifically designed sheets which some manufacturers specialize in or are capable of designing for the client. Another factor that most consumers will consider is the cost implication of purchasing the retardant sheet. While some will aim to cut costs it is always advised that be the least of the considerations because this perceived cost cutting could end up being dangerous and could cost lives and property of more value than intended savings.

With population going up each passing day and industries and housing going up each day, so does the risk of fire. Each home and institution is therefore best advised to be as fire proofed as possible and this calls for the use of retardants in more areas.

In summary, the use of the polycarbonate flame retardants is important in industrial applications. This is because they are commonly used to guarantee safety of all workers by reducing the catastrophic effects of fire outbreak. You need to get the right quality of flame retardant material to be sure that, it can actually serve the intended purpose.

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