Project - Danish products are protected from fire

Lars Haahr Jepsen

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Project - Danish products are protected from fire

Project Safe Flame Retardants is supported by Innovation Fund Denmark

Project start 2012. Project completion 2015.

Daily, we are surrounded by so-called flame retardants. They are chemical compounds that are added to products to increase their resistance to fire. Often, there has been a great deal of publicity surrounding flame retardants as they can be harmful to the indoor climate, the environment and hazardous to health. A co-operation between Danish industry and universities will develop methods to protect products such as textiles and bitumen roofing from fire – in an environmental-friendly and inexpensive way.

Flame retardants are necessary for fire resistance, but often they have been accused of being harmful to humans and to the environment. That is now about to change. The effect of the flame retardants will be improved by means of encapsulation and fixation. That will make them less harmful to the environment and less hazardous to health, and at the same time they will have a longer lifetime. When flame retardants are encapsulated and fixated, they become protected so they do not degrade, evaporate or leach. In that way, a prolonged effect is obtained, thereby maintaining fire resistance – also after 10 years of wear and tear. The project will focus on developing and subsequently implementing the new methods in the Danish industry. Therefore, considerable focus is put on ensuring product differentiation while minimizing production costs.

The objectives of the project include permitting the covering of passenger ship floors with synthetic carpets that meet fire requirements, obtaining a more environmental-friendly flameproof cotton and obtaining bitumen roofing that is competitive and safe. In the long term, the methods will have a broader application, allowing the Danish industry and a wide range of other products to benefit from the competences that have been developed through this project.

Ege Carpets will be the first company to introduce synthetic carpets that meet the requirements made on passenger ships.

If Ege Carpets in future can offer products made of 100% nylon and at the same time are IMO certified, then it will be possible to develop a market with completely new products and possibilities. Regarding competition, we will hold a strong position as the products will be able to match the currently increasing raw material prices of wool,” says Mr Aksel Heltoft, Plant Manager, Ege Carpets.

At Kemotextil, the project will be of great importance to sales in Denmark and abroad.

“It will be possible for Kemotextil to increase the sale of specialty technical flame retardant textiles, including work wear, baby clothes and children’s wear, auto interior, exhibition and theatre textiles. They would all have safety incorporated and be free from the hazardous evaporation of chemicals,” says Mr Henrik Ellerbæk, Managing Director, Kemotextil.

Dr. Kristoffer Almdal, Professor at DTU, has great experience with obtaining certain functions in plastic materials by changing the molecules of the materials.

“The project makes it possible for us in practice to use the research I have worked on for many years. It will be an exciting process and I am looking forward to seeing the results of the comprehensive work in the laboratories when it is implemented in the industry,” he says.

Icopal is striving to be at the leading edge of innovative and environmentally-friendly products, and, therefore, the project will be of great importance to Icopal in Denmark and abroad,” says Mr Eirik Jensen, Technical Manager, Icopal Denmark.

Project partners

  • Innovation Fund Denmark, Lars Winther
  • Egetæpper A/S, Aksel Heltoft
  • Kemotextil A/S, Henrik Ellerbæk
  • Icopal a/s, Holger Hersbøll
  • DTU Nanotech, Department of Micro- and Nanotechnology, Professor Kristoffer Almdal
  • Danish Technological Institute, Chemistry and Biotechnology, Sie Woldum Tordrup