The fire behavior of polymers is examined primarily with the time-dependent heat release rate (HRR) measured with a cone calorimeter. The HRR is used to examine the fire behavior of materials with and without flame retardants, especially Polypropylene (PP-Copo) and Polyethylene (PE-LD). Polypropylene is stored for up to 99 days under normal conditions and the heat release rate shows especially changes about 100 s after irradiation with cone calorimeter, which may be caused by aging effects. The effect of crosslinking to the burning behavior of PP was examined too. Polyamides (PA 6) are irradiated with a radiation intensity of 25 kW/m2 to 95 kW/m2 and fire-related principles between radiation intensity and time to ignition can be derived from the measurement results. In order to comprehensively investigate the fire behavior of PP (also with flame retardant additives), the samples were also exposed to a flame, according to UL 94 with small power (50 W) and is inflamed with the power of a few 100 W. The irradiation causes different trigger mechanisms for the flame retardant additives in a plastic than the flame exposure. It is shown that the compound, which is favorable for irradiation, is not necessarily good for flame exposure. It can be seen that expandable graphite alone or with the addition of other additives is a very effective flame retardant for PP.
Keywords: UL 94; aging; cone calorimeter; crosslinking; flame retardants; polyamide; polyethylene; polypropylene.