Development of XLPE compounds with low-toxicity flame retardant for cable insulation
Nine formulations of a flame retardant masterbatch with low environmental impact were developed, and the influence of their incorporation into a linear low-density polyethylene, grafted with a vinyltrimethoxysilane crosslinking agent, was evaluated for further crosslinking in order to obtain a cross-linked polyethylene with flame retardancy. The MBFRs were prepared using N, N-ethylene bis (tetrabromophthalamide) blended with antimony trioxide, zinc borate, linear low-density polyethylene, dispersing agent, and polyethylene wax, varying the N, N-ethylene bis (tetrabromophthalamide) (36, 42, and 45 %) and the dispersing agent (0.50, 1.25, and 2.00 %), while the rest of the components were kept constant. Subsequently, the nine developed flame retardant masterbatch were blended with the grafted linear low-density polyethylene to produce nine flame retardant cross-linked polyethylene compounds that were later shaped into plates and 14 AWG cable insulation for physicochemical characterization. The level used in both the fillers (N, N-ethylene bis-tetrabromophthalamide, antimony trioxide and zinc borate) and the dispersion agent conditioned the level of crosslinking estimated from the gel content, the flow performance, and the flame behavior of the material; the first two properties were favored by the increase in the dispersing agent, while the latter was improved with the increase in the proportion of fillers in the mixture. Likewise, the evaluation of the flame retardant cross-linked polyethylene compound manufactured with a commercial MBFRC, taken as a reference, showed that some of the formulations analyzed in this study can be used for electric cable insulation.
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