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Over the last two decades, polymeric materials have become an indispensable part of a human life, having a range of applications that far exceeds any other class of man-made material. Due to their versatility to conform easily to a variety of applications, we find an exponential rise in their usage. However, most commodity and engineering polymers are inherently flammable and require external additives called flame retardants (FR) to ensure fire-safety and reduce the risk of fire accidents. A majority of the commercially used FR are extremely toxic and persistent having significant long-term impact on the environment. Hence, there has been a tremendous need for the development of environmentally friendly, nontoxic, low/ non-leaching alternative halogen free FR additives.

In this research effort, we develop,

  • An alternative class of polymeric FR with specific emphasis on two parameters: good char formation and low heat release capacities to produce an effective non-halogenated FR.
  • Polyphenols were identified as potential alternatives, as they have good radical scavenging (hydroxyl groups) and char forming capabilities (aromatic backbone).
  • The polymerization of the various phenol monomers was carried out using benign biocatalytic (peroxidase based catalysts) and biomimetic (heme porphyrins) techniques predominantly in aqueous media in accordance to ‘green’ chemistry principles.