Aluminum hydroxide is widely used as a flame retardant due to its ability to suppress or delay the spread of fire. But how does it work? Let’s take a closer look at aluminum hydroxide’s fire retardant mechanism.
When exposed to heat, aluminum hydroxide releases water vapor and turns into alumina, a ceramic material. This process is known as dehydration, and it helps to cool down the surrounding area by absorbing heat energy. The release of water vapor also dilutes the concentration of flammable gases, which can help prevent combustion.
Alumina has a high melting point, which means that it can withstand high temperatures without melting or igniting. As a result, it acts as a physical barrier between the flame and the material being protected, preventing the flame from spreading.
In addition to its physical properties, aluminum hydroxide also has chemical properties that contribute to its fire retardant abilities. It can react with free radicals, which are highly reactive molecules that can cause chain reactions and accelerate the spread of fire. By reacting with free radicals, aluminum hydroxide helps to break the chain reaction and slow down the spread of fire.
Another chemical property of aluminum hydroxide is its ability to release water of crystallization when exposed to heat. This water helps to cool down the surrounding area and absorb heat energy, similar to the dehydration process.
In conclusion, aluminum hydroxide’s fire retardant mechanism is a combination of physical and chemical properties that work together to suppress or delay the spread of fire. Its ability to release water vapor and alumina, as well as its reaction with free radicals, make it a highly effective flame retardant.
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