NEC Corporation, Japan, has announced that it has succeeded in the development of a flame resistant polycarbonate resin, which cuts manufacturing energy consumption by over 20 per cent through the use of fly ash that is a by-product of thermal power plants. The fly ash boasts a high level of flame resistance necessary for housing plastics in electronic products such as in PCs, without the addition of toxic materials such as halogen compounds that are conventionally found in housing plastics. Use of fly ash results in a reduction in material costs, promotion of the protection of the environment thanks to safety measures regarding the elimination of the use of halogen compounds, and a reduction in manufacturing energy consumption.
The fly ash used in this research is a by-product of thermal power plants, and although it has been used as a cheap source material for cement, etc, it has to date not been effectively used as a component in housing materials. NEC has discovered the flame resistance properties of the fly ash for polycarbonate resin as a result of repeated research surrounding high reactivity on the fly ash surface. The flame resistance is due to the strong adhesion of the fly ash to the polycarbonate resin, which enhances thermal degradation resistance of the resin, and in addition, promotes its carbonization.
This research, through the optimization of the added volume and particle size of the fly ash, as well as the original composition of additives including a fluidity-enhancing agent, along with the ability to control the decrease of the strength and fluidity of the polycarbonate resin when the fly ash is added, provides an environmentally friendly flame resistant polycarbonate resin that can be used in desktop electronic equipment.