The last 20 years have seen a dramatic increase in the amount and variety of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) in houses, offices and all sorts of other public buildings. At the same time, the design of electrical and electronic equipment has increased the use of plastics in electronic component packages and printed circuit boards (PCB). The increased use of plastics means that the fire hazard of electrical and electronic equipment has become an increasingly important issue. There is a need to use Flame Retardants for fire safety of Electrical & Electronics equipment.

The fire hazard of electrical and electronic equipment is further increased by the tendency for component miniaturization and for increasing computing power, leading to a concentration of heat sources. Most modern video cards in computers now have their own cooling fan as do the chips on PC main boards, both in addition to the computer’s main cooling fan, and the failure of any one of these can lead to rapid component overheating. E&E equipment can also be subject to potential fire sources including electrical faults, internal heating (eg. laser printers), and external ignition sources such as cigarettes, candles, or other small heat sources, particularly as E&E technologies find their way into the home and not only the office.

Electrical and optical cables are particularly exposed to fire risks (in case of electrical faults), can represent a significant fire load and can carry fires from one place to another. If the insulating materials in cables catch fire, they can represent a significant quantity of fuel for fire, because of the sheer volume of cables in modern buildings (electrical, telephone, computer connections, etc.). If cables are not fire safe, then they highly susceptible to be the cause of fire, making overheating of wires, arcing, short circuits or electrical faults develop into flames of burning insulating material. Appropriate polymer – flame retardant combinations can be used to obtain LSFR (Low Smoke Flame Retardant) cables.

Flame retardants are added to different materials to reduce the risk of fire. They save lives, prevent injuries and property losses, and protect the environment by helping to prevent fires from starting and to limit fire damage. Flame Retardants are additives that can be added to or applied as a treatment to materials such as plastics. Flame retardants reduce the likelihood of a fire starting by providing increased resistance to ignition. Even if ignition does occur, flame retardants will act to delay the spread of flame, providing extra time in the early stages when the fire can be extinguished or an escape can be made.

Flame retardants are used in combination with smoke detectors, fire alarms and sprinkler systems, and combined with active public educa-tion about fire prevention and escape plans, flame retar-dants provide the most effective method available of pro-tecting life and property.

The flame retardants are grouped according to the chemical elements that provide their effectiveness: Bromine, chlorine, phosphorous, aluminium, magnesium and nitrogen are the most important elements. Various types of flame retardent materials are Halogenated flame retardants, Metal Hydrates, Nitrogen flame retardants, and Phosphorous flame retardants.