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Expanding supply of important flame retardant >

Flame retardants are chemicals added to flammable materials to reduce how combustible they are. While not necessarily preventing them from burning full stop, flame retardants serve to slow down the speed and intensity at which materials burn, which in turn slows the spread of fire and reduces damage.

One such chemical in widespread use is antimony trioxide (Sb2O3), a polymeric oxide of antimony and the element’s most commercially important compound. Most commonly found in the form of a white, odourless powder, between 10,000 and 25,000 tonnes of antimony trioxide are used in the US and Europe every year, mostly as a flame retardant.

The most common mechanism for this is using antimony trioxide as an additive in polymers like plastics, synthetic textiles and coatings, along with halides (negative ions of halogens like chlorine and bromine). Flame retardants in their own right, antimony trioxide supplements and enhances the action of halides. The chemicals work tandem in the ‘vapour phase’ of a flame at temperatures above 315oC, forming antimony halides and oxyhalides which act to repress burning.

Other uses of antimony trioxide include as an opacifier, an additive which makes otherwise transparent substances opaque. Antimony trioxide is used for this purpose in ceramics, enamels and glass. It can also be used to decolourise glass and stain iron and steel, while it is an ingredient in some speciality pigments. As a catalyst, it is also used industrially in the production of PET plastic and the vulcanisation of rubber.

Norkem has been supplying this useful and versatile chemical for many years, but in recent times have started to expand our offer in the UK and internationally. We have, for example, started to supply antimony trioxide in a broader range of forms, from 99.7% powder to damped with DIDP. We have also increased quantity and packaging options and can now ship in bag sizes ranging from 25kg to 1000kg.

To find out more about antimony trioxide and our ever-growing range of speciality industrial chemicals, contact our dedicated team to discuss your options.