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Panel: Rob Simon
Media: Bryan Goodman

The world is a much smaller place today thanks to modern modes of transportation. Decisions about vacation destinations or business travel now go beyond cities and states and encompass countries around the world. Travel, whether by car, train or airplane, is faster, safer, more affordable and much more comfortable than ever before. These improvements are largely due to the technologically advanced materials developed over the last several decades. Many metal transportation components of old, for example, have been replaced with those made with plastic, making transport lighter and more fuel efficient. A variety of plastics materials (e.g., flexible plastics, foam), composite materials, new types of textiles and electronic components have given transportation engineers and manufacturers a wealth of options when it comes to transportation design, function and performance.

These materials, however, which are now used in transportation products and components such as structural parts, electrical cables and wires, carpets and upholstery, must also meet flammability standards and requirements. Often, flame retardants are incorporated into these materials to help meet these standards.

Notably, the right flame retardant solution must be matched to the specific material so electrical and mechanical specifications are not adversely affected and important performance requirements can be met. Flame retardants interact differently with different materials. This is why there are so many different types of flame retardants available to manufacturers, and why the industry continues to innovate and develop new flame retardant options to keep pace with the ever-evolving transport sector.

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