Thermal decomposition, combustion and fire-retardancy of polyurethanes—a review of the recent literature



An overview is presented of the literature on thermal decomposition, combustion and fire-retardancy of polyurethane (PU) elastomers, PU-based coatings, rigid and flexible PU foams. A brief overview of the structure of PU polymeric networks is helpful for a better understanding of the thermal decomposition and combustion phenomena. Literature sources were mostly taken from the publications of 1995 and later; however, for a basic description of the structural and thermal decomposition principles, older publication have also been cited. New developments in the efficient halogen-containing additives and reactive copolymers are described. However, major progress in the area of flame-retardant PUs in recent years is found in the field of phosphorus- or silicon-containing products, especially reactive ones. Inorganic additives remain of great interest, especially in PU-based intumescent coatings. Copyright © 2004 Society of Chemical Industry