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Smoke Suppressed Flame Retardant Unsaturated Polyester Resin Compositions

Smoke suppressed flame retardant thermoset resin compositions comprise smoke suppressant bicyclic phosphate compound(s), flame retardant(s) and unsaturated polyester or other thermoset materials. These compositions exhibit a reduced tendency to smoke under conditions of burning.


Smoke Suppressed Flame Retardant Unsaturated Polyester Resin Compositions. E. J. Termine, N. A. Favstritsky and K. G. Taylor, United States Patent No. 5,346,938.
Available at: http://termine.com/archives/531


1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to thermoset polymers and specifically to additives which provide smoke suppression to unsaturated polyester (“UPE”) and other thermoset resin compositions and enhance the effect of flame retardant agents incorporated therewith.

2. Description of the Prior Art

It is known in the art that the flammability of thermoset resins such as unsaturated polyesters can be reduced by incorporation of a flame retardant agent. Typical flame retardant agents include reactive or additive halogenated organic compounds, inorganic fillers, and special formulations based on phosphorous and ammonium salts.

Although efficient in suppressing the rate of combustion in a resin system, most flame retardants tend to affect adversely one or more key properties of the resin. For example, many flame retardant additives are ineffective at producing low smoke (“smoke suppressed”) formulations.

Recent public awareness about risk and hazard assessment during fire situations, and technical limitations of conventional flame retardant additives warrant a need for improved flame retardant thermoset compositions. In particular, a need exists for a thermoset composition that passes flammability standards with low smoke and combustion by-product formation, and does not detract from overall polymer performance.

Many prior art references describe the use of a variety of smoke additives in unsaturated polyesters. Modern Plastics Encyclopedia, Vol. 63, No. 10A, McGraw-Hill, Inc., pp. 179-180 (1986). However, the selection of a suitable smoke suppressant for thermoset resins is not predictable. Selection is particularly difficult when flame retardants are employed, exacerbated by the complex interaction between the polymer and the flame retardant agent.

Hechenbleikner, et al. describe in U.S. Pat. No. 3,293,327 the production of bicyclic phosphites, phosphonates, thiophosphates, and selenophosphates. These compositions are said to be stabilizers for vinyl halide resins. They are alleged to be useful as heat stabilizers for vinyl chloride resin, and as antioxidants for fats and oils. The Hechenbleikner patent does not specify the use of bicyclic phosphates to achieve low smoke thermoset resin compositions, nor does it disclose that cyclic phosphates of the present invention could be used with flame retardant agents to produce smoke suppressed flame retardant thermoset compositions.

British Patent No. 999,793 describes a process for producing organic phosphates by subjecting organic phosphites to reaction with peracetic acid. This patent shows a method for producing the most preferred bicyclic phosphate of the present invention, 2,6,7-trioxa-1-phosphobicyclo[2.2.2]-octane-4-methanol -1-oxide and teaches the use of acetal ring-containing phosphates as plasticizers or functional fluids. The British patent, however, does not disclose the present invention. It does not mention bicyclic phosphates as being useful for flame retardant thermoset resins, nor that the most preferred bicyclic phosphate of the present invention can be used with flame retardant additives to yield improved thermoset compositions.

Hills, et al. describe in U.S. Pat. No. 3,873,496 a flame retardant polyester composition which contains 5 to 25 percent of a hydroxymethyl bicyclic phosphate compound as a flame retardant additive. Hills did not observe the ability for bicyclic phosphates to act as smoke suppressors for thermoset resin compositions which employ other compounds as the primary flame retardant additive.

Halpern, et al. describe in U.S. Pat. No. 4,341,694 a composition comprising 2,6,7-trioxa-1-phosphobicyclo[2.2.2]-octane-4-methanol-1-oxide and a nitrogen-containing co-additive, which are intumescent and are adaptable to flame retard polyolefins, polyvinylaromatic resins, polycarbonates, PVC and blends thereof. Halpern did not observe any smoke suppression of the present invention. Further, the present invention is not directed to providing intumescence, and operates in the absence of nitrogen compounds required by Halpern, namely compounds which are effective with the phosphates to provide intumescence, comprising ammonium compounds and derivatives of ammonia including amines, ureas, guanidines, guanamines, s-triazines such as melamine and ammeline, amino acids and peptides, as well as salts and derivatives thereof.

Parr, et al. describe in U.S. Pat. No. 4,801,625 a flame resistant composition having (1) an organic polymeric substance in intimate contact with (2) a bicyclic phosphorous compound, and (3) a gas producing compound. Parr is silent on the use of bicyclic compounds to attain smoke suppressed flame retardant thermoset compositions.

Accordingly, a primary object of this invention is to provide smoke suppressed flame retardant thermoset resin compositions.

A related object is to provide flame retardant unsaturated polyester resin compositions with a reduced tendency to smoke under burning conditions. A further object is to provide unsaturated polyester resin compositions incorporating bicyclic phosphate compound and flame retardant agents.


The foregoing and other objects, advantages and features of the present invention may be achievable with smoke suppressed thermoset resin compositions incorporating an additive mixture comprising a flame retardant agent and a smoke suppressant bicyclic phosphate compound of the the following Formula (I): ##STR1## where X is OH, OR’, or OC(O)R’; R is H or a saturated or unsaturated straight-chain or branched-chain C.sub.1 -C.sub.17 alkyl; and R’ is a saturated or unsaturated straight-chain or branched-chain C.sub.1 -C.sub.17 alkyl. The present invention is particularly useful with isophthalic unsaturated polyesters, orthophthalic unsaturated polyesters, vinylester resins, and epoxy resins. Compositions in accordance with this invention exhibit a reduced tendency to smoke under burning conditions.

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