MATERIALS: Bayer MaterialScience LLC has introduced a flame retardant polycarbonate resin that is suitable for demanding requirements, particularly for LED, lighting and electrical applications. Makrolon® FR7087 is believed to be the first clear thermoplastic material to meet UL 94 5VA specifications at 3 mm thickness, and also meets V-0 at 2.2 mm and V-2 at 1.5 mm. Hence, Underwriters Labs. Inc. has issued a UL Plastic Recognition Yellow Card for the new resin.The UL Yellow Card features specific information about a polymeric material a company has submitted for testing. UL 94 is widely regarded as the standard for the safety of flammability of plastic materials for parts in devices and appliances testing. Makrolon® FR7087 was issued the Yellow Card and listed on the UL Online Certifications Directory at http://tinyurl.com/FR7087-yellow-card after being subjected to rigorous UL testing, including glow wire flammability and ignition.
Aside from the new Makrolon® FR7087 polycarbonate, there are very limited transparent material options that meet UL 94 5VA requirements. One option is glass, which is prone to breaking and difficult to produce in complex shapes. Fortunately, the new material offers the best of both worlds: the appearance of glass combined with the renowned impact strength and moldability of Makrolon® polycarbonate. Furthermore, the new material has very good light transmission (close to 90 percent at 3 mm) with about 1 percent haze. This desirable combination of properties makes Makrolon® FR7087 ideal for demanding lighting and electrical applications.
The new material may also provide an opportunity to lower production costs. That’s because selecting materials that meet UL 94 5VA can potentially eliminate the need to electrically isolate components from non-flame-retardant clear materials or separately test the final component for UL listing. This may, in turn, translate into the ability to reduce the total number of components from several to just one, thereby streamlining production and assembly, as well as decreasing raw material costs.
- Edited by Liz Taurasi