Fire behaviour of synthetic leather


Improving the fire behaviour of synthetic leather

© Fraunhofer WKI
Small-furnace test of a) a hybrid PU dispersion b) a commercial PU dispersion.

Due to its aesthetic appearance and feel, together with its good to very good performance characteristics such as cleaning and resistance, synthetic leather is primarily utilised in public places, for example in hotels, meeting locations and restaurants as well as in modes of transport, e.g. in buses, trains and aeroplanes. The applications range from floor coverings to high-quality items of seating furniture. Due to its high polymer content, however, synthetic leather is problematic as regards fire behaviour and is becoming increasingly powerless against the stricter fire protection demands from the core markets and the requirements of the processing industry. Current technology, however, does not enable synthetic leather to fulfil these relatively high requirements. For this reason, investigations were carried out into whether the incorporation of intumescent aggregate mixtures in PU and PVC bulk can result in improved fire behaviour.

The illustration shows the course of the small-furnace test on the recipe with a) a hybrid PU dispersion and b) a commercial PU dispersion. Release paper was used for the substrate. In the case of the hybrid PU binder, the foam developed regularly under the influence of the flame. The coating compound with the PU dispersion, which is used industrially in the manufacture of synthetic leather, also formed a foam layer. This, however, burned.