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Halogen-free fire protection for ABS

The project Halogen-free flame retardants for ABS, HFFR ABS, aims to reduce the use of toxic and environmentally detrimental flame retardants in ABS products by systematic evaluation of the performance of affordable sustainable flame retardant systems in ABS.

ABS is an economical and large-volume engineering plastic used in a variety of applications such as appliances, transportation, piping, electrical and electronic components, furniture, etc. Global demand for ABS is estimated to be almost four million tons per year. Many of these applications require fire protection, as ABS is a highly flammable material. Traditionally, halogen-based flame-retardant (FR) additives are used to improve the fire properties of ABS. However, there have been prevalent concerns about the environmental impact of halogenated FRs for many years. The most common FRs for ABS are known to be highly persistent in the environment, and to accumulate in the food chain, which exacerbates their toxic effects.

Numerous halogen-free FR systems have been developed recently that can provide effective fire protection for a variety of plastics. However, ABS has been proven to show a drastic reduction of mechanical properties (especially impact strength) with these additives. No effective halogen-free FR systems are available on the market for ABS. Some scientific publications as well as studies at RISE indicate that certain combinations of phosphorus-based FRs with low toxicity can provide effective fire protection for ABS at low cost. However, a more systematic evaluation of the influence of different combinations of these FRs with each other and with other synergists (e.g. nanoparticles) on the different fire parameters (smoke, flame spread, heat release, etc.) and on the mechanical performance of ABS are required for an adoption of non-toxic and sustainable fire protection in ABS products.

The present project delivered an overview over the influence of different phosphorus-based FR systems (different combinations of FRs and synergists) on the flammability and mechanical performance of ABS. In particular, the horizontal and vertical flame spread, heat release, smoke production, impact strength and tensile properties of ABS with different FR systems were studied and the cost and sustainability of the different FR systems were compared.


Project name




RISE role in project


Project start


5 months

Total budget

700 kSEK



Project members

Article on 'Bromine-free flame-retardant systems for ABS'

Supports the UN sustainability goals

9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure
11. Sustainable cities and communities
12. Responsible consumption and production
14. Life below water
15. Life on land