The present work deals with the study of phosphorus flame retardant microcellular acrylonitrile–butadiene–styrene (ABS) parts and the effects of weight reduction on the fire and mechanical performance. Phosphorus-based flame retardant additives (PFR), aluminum diethylphosphinate and ammonium polyphosphate, were used as a more environmentally friendly alternative to halogenated flame retardants. A 25 wt % of such PFR system was added to the polymer using a co-rotating twin-screw extruder. Subsequently, microcellular parts with 10, 15, and 20% of nominal weight reduction were prepared using a MuCell®
injection-molding process. The results indicate that the presence of PFR particles increased the storage modulus and decreased the impact energy determined by means of dynamic-mechanical-thermal analysis and falling weight impact tests respectively. Nevertheless, the reduction of impact energy was found to be lower in ABS/PFR samples than in neat ABS with increasing weight reduction. This effect was attributed to the lower cell sizes and higher cell densities of the microcellular core of ABS/PFR parts. All ABS/PFR foams showed a self-extinguishing behavior under UL-94 burning vertical tests, independently of the weight reduction. Gradual decreases of the second peak of heat release rate and time of combustion with similar intumescent effect were observed with increasing weight reduction under cone calorimeter tests.
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