GrafGuard®: The Non-Toxic, High-Performing Alternative for Fire Stop Applications

Overview

Growing concern over environmental sustainability continues to drive the introduction of stringent regulations that affect nearly every industry and product. Reducing adverse environmental and health effects is of particular interest when examining manufacturing processes, materials, and products themselves. Halogenated fire retardants have long been known to have harmful effects on humans and the environment—long after their useful life. Regulatory demands and growing consumer pressure are motivating manufacturers across a variety of markets to replace halogenated fire retardant additives with safer, more environmentally friendly solutions.

A High Performing Alternative to Halogenated Fire-Retardants

As today’s manufacturers continue to seek out solutions that can meet progressively complex environmental, safety, and regulatory standards, NeoGraf Solutions’ GrafGuard®  products stand out. GrafGuard® expandable graphite is a high performing, environmentally friendly, cost-effective alternative to halogenated fire-retardants. 

GrafGuard®:

  • Is a non-toxic, non-halogenated fire-stop additive, containing no chlorine or bromine compounds 
  • Has proven compatibility and synergy with many other conventional fire-retardant additives in a wide variety of plastics, foams, coatings, composites, mastics, adhesives, paints, paper products, and building and construction materials 
  • Achieves consistent engineered activation temperatures to meet compounding/processing requirements
  • Is compatible with most catalyst system with a controlled surface pH (from 4-9) 
  • Meets many flame-stop performance targets at low loading levels
  • Reduces smoke evolution
  • Is compatible with high volume manufacturing 

Manufactured from natural graphite flake, the proprietary processing for GrafGuard® expandable graphite inserts an expansion agent (or intercalant) between the parallel layer planes in the graphite. When exposed to elevated temperatures as low as 160°C, the intercalant decomposes to a gas that forcefully expands the layer planes apart, forming a highly effective carbon char layer. This resulting char protects the reactive coated substrate from the heat of the fire and minimizes the smoke generated from the burning of the substrate. In addition, the porous char layer allows for percolation of synergistic fire-retardant materials as they decompose during a fire.

GrafGuard’s industry-leading product portfolio enables manufacturers in a diverse array of industries to meet increasingly stringent fire safety codes for wood products, foam insulation panels, putties, coatings, structural panels, and more.

Ideal Markets for GrafGuard® 

GrafGuard’s intumescent properties make it an ideal additive for putties, pipe collars and other firestop products and flame retardant applications. It can be used as a coating, in multiple layers of a composite, or simply as the reactive substance in a fire protective layer. 

GrafGuard® can be incorporated into polyurethane, latex (natural and synthetic), ethylene propylene diene monomer rubber, polystyrene, and high impact polystyrene in the forms of sheets and molded foams. It can also be used as an intumescent fire stop in mastic adhesive materials, bituminous roofing sealing products, epoxies, polypropylene (low, medium, and high density) and polyethylene materials, silicones, siloxanes, thermoplastic polyurethanes, and polyvinyl chloride. 

GrafGuard® is suitable for use in many applications, including:

Building and Construction – GrafGuard® meets many flame-stop performance targets at low loading levels. It both reduces the need for harmful chemicals and helps to improve fire protection characteristics of wood, foam, plastics, roofing, and other building and construction materials. GrafGuard® products can also be introduced directly into some building materials such as oriented strand board, particleboard, sheetrock, and cement board.

Transportation – GrafGuard® is used as a critical fire stop application in foams, insulation, and carpet backing within a variety of applications in the transportation industry. It improves the performance of fire-retardant additives such as phosphates, magnesium hydroxide, and nitrogen compounds. GrafGuard’s ability to work synergistically with these compounds facilitates a reduction in both the quantity of materials required for fire management and total systems costs.

Bedding – GrafGuard® is used in natural and synthetic foams, pillows, mattress covers, and more in the bedding industry, acting as a fire retardant and adding a cooling effect to mattress and pillow products. GrafGuard® is an EPA recognized alternative to pentaBDE that was phased out in 2004.

What Makes GrafGuard® Unique?

GrafGuard® has been used as a reliable and high performing intumescent material for flame retardant applications for more than twenty-five years. Its unique characteristics make GrafGuard® the most cost-effective, high performing, environmentally friendly non-halogenated fire stop product on the market today.

 

GrafGuard® is:

 

Versatile –  GrafGuard® has successfully been incorporated into a wide variety of polymeric coating systems. Nearly all existing premier coatings solutions have used it as a graphite-based intumescent coating, including epoxies, latex, silicones, siloxanes, and polyurethanes. It has also been proven to be compatible and synergistic with many other conventional fire-retardant additives in a wide variety of plastics, foams, coatings, composites, mastics, adhesives, paints, paper products, and building and construction materials.

 

Consistent – NeoGraf’s highly automated and proprietary intercalation and coating processes produce the most consistent, thermally stable product in the world. Where conventional flame retardants can lose effectiveness when subjected to heat, humidity or UV radiation, GrafGuard® products remain stable indefinitely, providing reliable, consistent, dependable expansion. GrafGuard® products exhibit no degradation in expansion volume when repetitively tested in temperature cycles ranging from -40°C to +110°C. 

 

High Quality – GrafGuard® is ISO 9001 compliant, ensuring a consistent product every time. GrafGuard® offers a world-class portfolio of products suitable for a wide variety of onset temperatures and particle sizes, making it suitable for a variety of applications. 

 

Superior in Expansion Performance – GrafGuard® flake has been shown to expand up to eight times more than competitive products, exhibiting superior performance even at low temperatures. This high expansion makes it possible to reduce loading levels and improve fire stop performance. As the amount of additive is reduced, the probability that the physical properties of the final product will be negatively affected is also reduced. Before expansion, GrafGuard® expandable graphite flakes have a typical tap density between 0.69 to 0.85 g/cm3

 

Environmentally Friendly – NeoGraf Solutions is ISO 14001 certified and GrafGuard® expandable graphite materials are REACH and RoHS compliant. GrafGuard® is the only expandable graphite manufactured in North America without the chlorine, bromine, lead, and chromium compounds that can cause certain graphite flakes, as well as the products containing them, to be treated as hazardous waste. This eliminates the need, expense and potential liability of hazardous waste disposal. GrafGuard® presents no explosion hazard and can be handled safely without special precautions.

 

Cost-effective – GrafGuard® expandable flake is sourced and manufactured in North America, reducing the costs of—and supply chain delays caused by—hiring a broker and shipping products from overseas. Using GrafGuard® in a fire suppressant system can reduce the total amount of additives required to achieve fire stop standards, lowering loading levels and cutting total system costs.

Consumers and legislators alike continue to demand that manufacturers produce products that reduce human and environmental exposure to greenhouse gases, heavy metals, and other toxic substances. This is driving a variety of industries to search for high performing, cost-effective, nontoxic fire-retardant additives and solutions. The versatility, consistency, and quality of GrafGuard® as the only non-halogenated expandable graphite material sourced in North America make it a premier solution for a variety of applications.

NeoGraf will be featuring GrafGuard® expandable graphite flakes at Foam Expo NA 2020 in Novi, MI. Do you need a better solution for your firestop applications and products? Contact us today to learn more about our entire line of GrafGuard® expandable graphite products or visit us at Foam Expo – Booth #2909.

For more information on our products and services, please contact us.