The use of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) is pervasive everywhere we live, work and do business. We rely on these products and devices to work properly—and safely—and we rarely think about how they are made. Flame retardants are incorporated into a wide variety of electrical and electronic products used by consumers, businesses, and the medical and transportation industries to meet fire safety standards. These include complex electrical and electronic devices that demand high performance electrical properties, but must also have important fire-resistant characteristics, such as those used in military applications.
The diverse EEE applications and product uses, from the USB ports and insulated cables we plug into our computers to the printed wiring boards in the control panels of jets, all have different flame retardant needs. As a result, flame retardant solutions are carefully matched to the materials used in each application. Learn more about how flame retardants work.
Some of the many examples of products that rely on flame retardants to achieve flammability standards include:
- Consumer electronics (i.e., smart phones, TV sets, DVRs, laptops)
- Communication and information technology (IT) equipment (i.e., microprocessors, computer servers, modems, printers, copy machines, fax machines, radios)
- Electrical appliances (refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, clothes dryers, dishwashers)
- Electrical parts (i.e. connectors, USB ports, plug and socket connectors; switches)
- Wires and cables (i.e. insulated electrical wires and cables used in EEE consumer and transportation applications such as computer cables, and cables and wiring in automobiles)
- Transportation, aviation and medical applications (printed wiring boards, computerized dashboards, control panels, diagnostic equipment)
- Specialty military and aerospace applications
Despite the wide range of electrical and electronic products, their uses and even their performance expectations, there are four general categories of EEE that use flame retardants to meet fire safety standards:
These can be found in many different types of electronic equipment or as stand-alone components in the building and construction, and transportation sectors, and can vary significantly depending on the application.