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Explained: Flame-retardant

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Posted · Explained: Flame-retardant

First things first: What is Flame-retardant? 

The term “flame retardant” refers to a function, not a family of chemicals. A flame retardant material is one that is designed to help prevent fires from starting or limit their spread (burn slowly). Certain materials have intrinsic properties of flame retardancy, for other materials flame retardants are added – a diverse group of chemicals which are added to plastics to reduce their flammability.



Why is it important?

In some working environments, fire is a risk. Flame retardant materials can help prevent fires from starting or limit their spread and can provide additional escape time. That is why regulations often require the use of flame retardant materials in order to manufacture parts to comply with relevant safety standards.




What else should you know: 

  • Flame-retardant and flame-resistant are not the same. Flame-retardant materials are designed to preventing fires from starting, and limiting their spread. Flame-resistant materials have a different purpose – to resist burning and withstand heat.
  • There are 2 groups of flame retardant filaments
    • Filaments that already possess flame-retardant properties themselves, such as PPS and PVDF.
    • Flame retardant properties created through a diverse group of chemicals which are added to reduce their flammability.
  • Certification. Levels of flame-retardancy are certified via UL 94, the Standard for Safety of Flammability of Plastic Materials for Parts in Devices and Appliances testing. This flammability standard was released by Underwriters Laboratories in the US (including the Blue Card certification mentioned in the video above).
    Classifications exist from lowest (Least flame-retardant) to highest (Most flame-retardant):
    • HB: slow burning on a horizontal specimen; burning rate < 76 mm/min for thickness < 3 mm or burning stops before 100 mm
    • V-2: burning stops within 30 seconds on a vertical specimen; drips of flaming particles are allowed.
    • V-1: burning stops within 30 seconds on a vertical specimen; drips of particles allowed as long as they are not inflamed.
    • V-0: burning stops within 10 seconds on a vertical specimen; drips of particles allowed as long as they are not inflamed.
    • 5VB: burning stops within 60 seconds on a vertical specimen; no drips allowed; plaque specimens may develop a hole.
    • 5VA: burning stops within 60 seconds on a vertical specimen; no drips allowed; plaque specimens may not develop a hole.
  • Additives can be abrasive and damage the nozzle. To minimize abrasion, use the CC core.
  • Most flame-retardant materials need to be dried before use


Which temperature resistant materials do we have in the marketplace? 


  • DSM Novamid® AM1030 FR (F) is the first-ever UL Blue Card-certified PA6/66 filament on the market and is valid for the Ultimaker S5. It is an environmentally friendly, sustainable solution for applications requiring flame retardancy.



  • Arkema FluorX™ is a tough, semi-crystalline fluoropolymer made from Arkema’s Kynar® PVDF. It is formulated for printability, and is a great option for parts subjected to demanding conditions, such as solvents, acids, fire, and UV radiation.



  • Solvay Solef® PVDF AM Filament is a tailor-made fluorinated semi-crystalline additive manufacturing material for best printing results of parts that need chemical resistance, high thermal and environmental stability, and good mechanical properties.



  • Lehvoss LUVOCOM 3F PAHT® KK 50056 is optimized for FFF 3D printing. The inclusion of ceramic fillers means it performs well in high-temperature environments, as the fillers boost the thermal stability without adversely affecting the processing process.




And we have plenty more filaments in our marketplace. Curious to see more of them? Click this link to visit the marketplace. We have improved the search feature, so you can also use it to search for properties. More information like where to buy and intuitive filtering can also be found on our materials page at ultimaker.com


Have you used this material already? Let us know your experiences below! 

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