Published in Applied Sciences, Vol. 11(13), 5952, 2021
Many polymer-made objects show a trend of melting and dripping in fire, a behavior that may be modified by adding flame retardants (FRs). These affect materials properties, e.g., heat absorption and viscosity. In this paper, the effect of a flame retardant on the fire behavior of polymers in the UL 94 scenario is studied. This goal is achieved essentially by applying a new computational strategy that combines the particle finite element method for the polymer with an Eulerian formulation for air. The sample selected is a polypropylene (PP) with magnesium hydroxide at 30 wt.%. For modelling, values of density, conductivity, specific heat, viscosity, and Arrhenius coefficients are obtained from different literature sources, and experimental characterization is performed. However, to alleviate the missing viscosity at a high temperature, three viscosity curves are introduced on the basis of the viscosity curve provided by NIST and the images of the test. In the experiment, we burn the specimen under the UL 94 condition, recording the process and measuring the temperature evolution by means of three thermocouples. The UL 94 test is solved, validating the methodology and quantifying the effect of FR on the dripping behavior. The numerical results prove that well-adjusted viscosity is crucial to achieving good agreement between the experimental and numerical results in terms of the shape of the polymer and the temperature evolution inside the polymer.