How Brominated Flame Retardants work

Fire is a chemical reaction between oxygen and a fuel in the gas phase. The mechanisms by which flame retardants act are complex, and can be quite specific to the nature of the material they are protecting. However, one mechanism accounting for the effectiveness of brominated flame retardants is their ability to release active bromine atoms (called free radicals) into the gas phase as the material is decomposed in the fire. These bromine atoms effectively quench the chemical reactions occurring in the flame, reducing the heat generated and slowing or even preventing the burning process.