Tin: A lesser-known fire fighter

Australia is well-known for its scorching hot summers. While many of us trudge through winter awaiting the warming feeling of the sun’s rays, this weather can also mark a period of potential high risk. Fires are undoubtedly dangerous and ruthless disasters that occur during those hot summer months. That’s why researchers have spent countless hours determining the best and most cost-effective fire retardants available.

Although a wide range of chemicals have been used as fire retardants over the years, many have been found containing inherent toxic elements, and therefore have negative impacts on the environment. Researchers and the general public have raised concern about these harmful chemicals, and have sought the market for other alternatives.

During the mid-1980s, The International Tin Research Institute (ITRI) had begun development of novel tin-based additives that could be used as a safer, more effective fire retardant. This development has proven a great success, and nowadays, these compounds are being marketed world-wide. As we can see, the application of tin in everyday instances has gone on to benefit the environment and the public globally.

Yet despite clear technical benefits, including non-toxicity and excellent smoke suppression, markets for tin compounds have been somewhat limited due to their relatively high price compared to many other flame retardants. This has seen recent research focussing on tin additives being used as synergists with other flame retardants and on developing more cost-effective systems.

Tin has certainly proven to be an element offering several advantages over many conventional flame retardants. The development and application of tin continues to be analysed in terms of its potential benefits to our society as a whole and consequently, the use of tin is expected to grow in the immediate future. Australians are armed with a firefighter that can help them out if needed.

Source: ITRI