Functional copolymers – Synthesis and applications
Researchers: Michael Luksin, Petra Frank (in collaboration with working group Prof. Dr. U. Jonas, University of Siegen, Germany)
We are currently working in the design, synthesis and potential applications of a series of novel styrenic copolymers. Specifically, some of the synthesized copolymers exhibit flame retardant properties which render them suitable for e. g. applications in E&E, building & construction, transportation, and others.
A novel set of intrinsically flame retardant styrenic copolymers
Polystyrene and styrene copolymers are widely used polymers in building and construction, E&E, transportation, and other applications. They possess multiple favourable properties, but exhibit at the same time very low resistance to fire and flames. Therefore, the generation of a sufficient flame-retardant effect in styrenic polymersremains a challenging field of current applied research.
State of the art flame-retarded styrenic polymer foams use halogenated flame retardants like hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) or polybrominated styrene-butadiene-copolymers to achieve sufficient fire retardancy. Halogen-free flame retardant systems for polystyrene foams have also been described in recent patents.
In a previous publication it could be shown that, in using a phosphorus-sulfur flame retardant system in polystyrene foams, the chemical environment of the phosphorus atoms in the different flame retardants used did, surprisingly, not influence the flame retardant efficiency in a B2 and an LOI setup. The used flame retardants in this study were of low molecular weight and therefore possess the tendency to migrate out of the polymer. This migration behavior can reduce the long-term flame resistant properties of those polystyrene foams.
It is therefore the target of the current study to overcome the above-mentioned drawbacks of the tested state-of-the-art halogen-free flame-retardants for polystyrene foams. A set of novel, tailor-made halogen-free styrene copolymers with flame retardant properties for building and construction applications was developed by a versatile synthetic building-block-approach in a one-pot, atom-efficient and solvent-free synthesis. in which the route is based on cost-efficient and readily available educts. This challenging novel and environmental-friendly pathway possesses a large potential to provide environmentally friendly and cost-efficient novel styrene copolymers with intrinsic resistance to flames for a variety of different applications.
 Ballast. D.E. et al., Method of foaming a thermoplastic organic polymer containing a nucleating agent and an organic bromide, US3188295 (A) 08.06.1965.  Hahn, K. et al., Flame-protected Polymer Foams, WO2011/073141 A1, 13.12.2010.  Bellin, I. et al., Flame-retardant System. WO2012/089667 A1, 05.07.2012.  Luksin, M. et al., FRPM2019 Proceedings, 26.-28.06.2019, P50.  Martinez-Lopez et al., Food Additives & Contaminants: Part A,