A new series of coupling agents reportedly allow halogen-free polyolefin compounds to efficiently replace PVC in flame retardant wire and cable solutions. Polybond modifiers are supplied by Addivant USA (Middlebury, CT), the former antioxidant and UV stabilizer solutions business of Chemtura.
The replacement of PVC in wire and cable insulation and jacketing is driven by regulatory changes and consumers' increased desire for sustainable solutions. This has developed an increased demand for halogen-free polyolefin compounds for use in a growing number of wire and cable markets, such as transportation, electrical & electronic, building & construction and appliance applications.
Currently, polyolefins are the most widely used polymers in the world, primarily due to their ease of processing, balance of mechanical properties versus cost and, with respect to the wire & cable market, good electrical properties. However, a major drawback with the use of polyolefins is that they are not inherently flame retardant like PVC. Traditional formulations to make polyolefins flame retardant used halogenated flame retardants, which produce heavy smoke and give off toxic, corrosive gasses during combustion.