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Clariant's Exolit OP Maintains Flame-Retardant Rating After Recycling

Fraunhofer LBF Institute verifies Exolit OP’s performance in recycled glass-filled nylons 6 and 66. 


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The Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability LBF, which includes the integration of the renowned German Plastics Institute DKI since 2012, has confirmed that glass fiber-reinforced nylons 6 and 66 containing halogen-free flame retardant Exolit OP from Clariant Corp. (U.S. office in Charlotte, N.C.) maintain their UL 94 V-0 rating also when recycled and upcycled back into production streams multiple times.  This validation is advantageous both for the environment and manufacturers who are keen on boosting their use of production waste and post-use recyclate in E&E and automotive applications.

According to Clariant, even if plastics could be re-designed to a large extent to be a better fit to recycling, contaminants and additives could be accumulated in the material over several mechanical recycling cycles and might lead to poor performance or even health risks. Being phosphorus-based and halogen-free, Exolit OP as a flame retardant is a safer and an environmentally superior option compared to legacy brominated flame retardants. Its use is even further relevant as demand for nylon 66 is increasing, driven by industry trends such as miniaturization in E&E, the shift to more lightweight materials in automotive and by rising mobility demand.

In the case of electric vehicles, there are very specific material and safety requirements. Due to the high energy content of the battery and the high voltages and currents employed, both flammability and electrical arcing are risks that can lead to a fire—risks addressed by measuring the current tracking index (CTI) where short circuiting on a surface is mimicked. In this test, Exolit OP phosphinates perform exceptionally well.

Said head of the additives business unit Stephan Lynen, “At Clariant we are dedicated to ensuring our additives are not part of the plastic waste. Take automobiles, one of the most recyclable engineered products, offering recovery rates of up to 90%. As the industry shifts towards a circular economy, any contribution we make to recyclable plastics that improves automotive waste management will support OEMs in selecting lighter weight and sustainable materials. With Exolit OP, OEMs can be confident of a flame retarded nylon for their application which is recyclable and safe.”