Material | August 30, 2006
Minimizing the fire hazard of electronic components
With more than 200 million metric tons worldwide annual production, plastics are one of the most important materials today.
More than 25% of plastics are used in areas with specific fire safety requirements, such as electric or electronic applications. Plastics are used in housings, switchgears, wires and electric cables, printed circuit boards and connector elements. The requirements for electric and electronic appliances—and therefore for their plastic components—are codified in numerous international standards and rules. In view of the rising safety awareness and new research results, regulations are tightened constantly. To comply with these regulations now and in the future, it is necessary to enhance plastic components with excellent flame resistance, which not only fulfills the high efficiency requirements, but also meets the demanding economic and ecological criteria. With Exolit® OP the Pigments & Additives Division of Clariant offers a trailblazing product series for the non-halogenated fire protection of thermoset resin systems for printed circuit boards, such as epoxy-based FR-4 laminates. This innovative technology meets the growing demand of OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) for ecological flame retardants, which are mainly used in consumer electronics, including digital cameras, mobile phones, DVD players, laptops, and on-board electronics in passenger cars. The phospinate-based system offers many other benefits. Unlike conventional alternatives, the latest Exolit® OP products feature thermal stability and an almost neutral behavior towards Dk/Df standards. This also makes it possible to use the flame retardants in high-frequency applications. The highly effective products offer optimal fire protection while taking into account ecological and toxicological considerations. The non-halogenated flame retardants Exolit® OP comply with the RoHS directive and fit perfectly in the frame of the WEEE directive . Their balanced price-performance ratio is gaining the products a high acceptance in an increasing number of formulations and applications. It allows the production of non-halogenated printed circuit boards with high glass transition temperatures, such as FR-4 base laminates with a glass transition temperature of 170 °C. The system has also shown its effectiveness in CEM-3 printed circuit boards, solder resist coatings, and resin-coated copper foils. For flexible printed circuit boards, there is Exolit® OP 935, a modified flame retardant whose reduced particle size of a maximum of 10 µm was especially developed for polyimide-copper-based printed circuit boards.
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