Natural rubber (NR) as a kind of commercial polymer or engineering elastomer is widely used in tires, dampers, suspension elements, etc., because of its unique overall performance. For some NR products, their work environment is extremely harsh, facing a serious fire safety challenge. Accordingly, it is important and necessary to endow NR with flame retardancy via different strategies. Until now, different methods have been used to improve the flame retardancy of NR, mainly including intrinsic flame retardation through the incorporation of some flame-retarding units into polymer chains and additive-type flame retardation via adding some halogen or halogen-free flame retardants into NR matrix. For them, the synergistic flame-retarding action is usually applied to simultaneously enhance flame retardancy and mechanical properties, in which some synergistic flame retardants such as organo-montmorillonite (OMMT), carbon materials, halloysite nanotube (HNT), etc., are utilized to achieve the above-mentioned aim. The used flame-retarding units in polymer chains for intrinsic flame retardation mainly include phosphorus-containing small molecules, an unsaturated chemical bonds-containing structure, a cross-linking structure, etc.; flame retardants in additive-type flame retardation contain organic and inorganic flame retardants, such as magnesium hydroxide, aluminum hydroxide, ammonium polyphosphate, and so on. Concerning the flame retardation of NR, great progress has been made in the past work. To achieve the comprehensive understanding for the strategy and recent progress in the flame retardation of NR, we thoroughly analyze and discuss the past and current flame-retardant strategies and the obtained progress in the flame-retarding NR field in this review, and a brief prospect for the flame retardation of NR is also presented.
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