Axion International, producer of industrial building products and railroad ties made from recycled plastic, has received a distribution license for a newly patented halogen-free flame-retardant coating developed by Rutgers University.
The new coating allows easier application to materials, especially plastics.
The patent (USPTO 7,851,536) was awarded in December to Rutgers University of New Brunswick, NJ. Through existing licensing agreements with Rutgers, Axion, based in New Providence, NJ, is authorized to sell and sub-license the coating throughout the United States, North America and South America.
‘Decombusting’ a Combustible
The flame-retardant coating was originally developed for enhanced fire resistance in load-bearing plastic, Axion said in a release. After more than five years of research, a team led by Thomas Nosker, Ph.D., at Rutgers University’s Materials Sciences and Engineering Department developed the formulation, which can be sprayed onto almost any hard surface using standard equipment.
This is a significant departure from the traditional method of embedding flame-retardant particles directly into the plastic itself, researchers said. Axion says the coating has been effective in making a surface more fire resistant by using the principle of thermal heat radiation, to bounce back heat of various wavelengths.
The new fire-retardant coating can be sprayed onto
plastics and other materials, rather than being
embedded in them.
Coating plastic materials turns the plastic from a combustible material to a non-combustible material, the company says.
"Although originally designed for use on plastic load-bearing material such as Axion’s railroad ties, due to the ease in which the coating is applied to the substrate, it can be used on virtually any surface,” said Nosker.
Nosker noted that the coating is halogen-free, “which is beneficial due to the rising concerns over use of brominated flame-retardants and other halogen-based chemicals that can be hazardous to human health. Based on its unique properties, this product represents a significant shift from the way most flame retardants reduce combustibility.”
Applications include the electronics, industrial and military verticals markets, he said.
More than 1.7 million metric tons of flame retardant are used each year, with the global market for flame-retardant chemicals estimated at $4.1 billion in 2008, according to a report published by Massachusetts-based market research firm BCC Research. This same report estimates global flame-retardant demand to increase to $6.1 billion in 2014, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7%. Gains will be driven by trends toward more stringent flammability standards in the developing world, and by the rising use of plastic products.
Axion’s new Rutgers license allows it to not only market the coating throughout the Western Hemisphere’s flame-retardant coatings market but also to use it on its own infrastructure plastics.