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Fluoroalkyl Phosphorus Compounds



J D. Mather, R E. Tapscott, J M. Shreeve, R P. Singh


In work sponsored by the Next-Generation Fire Suppression Technology Program, research efforts at the New Mexico Engineering Research Institute extended earlier promising studies on alkyl phosphorus compound flame extinguishment performance to the study of several new partially and fully fluorinated alkyl phosphorus compounds from the phosphine and phosphonate families[1]. Researchers have demonstrated that phosphorus compounds appear to provide a chemical fire extinguishment mechanism, and in fact some appear to be highly effective flame extinguishants. Much reported work has been performed on dimethyl methyl phosphonate (DMMP) and related compounds [2,3]. Though DMMP shows very promising flame suppression characteristics, this compound and most of the related compounds studied to date have serious practical drawbacks. Specifically, most of the standard phosphorus compounds studied to date are flammable and have low vapor pressures. For phosphorus based compounds to be employed as fire extinguishant compounds effective nonflammable and lower boiling structures needed to be identified. The introduction of one or more polyfluoroalkyl or polyfluoroalkoxy moieties, e.g., [O=P(OCH3)2-n(OCF3)n CH3] (n = 1, 2) or [O=P(OCH3)2CF3] offers an opportunity to minimize or possibly eliminate both of these unfavorable properties. Of particular initial interest for testing is the totally fluorinated trimethoxy phosphonate O=P(OCF3)3, which has a boiling point of 32 ºC [4]. This project involved the initial selection of eight promising fluoroalkyl- and hydrofluoroalkyl-substituted phosphorus compounds followed by their synthesis in the laboratory of Dr. Jean’ne Shreeve at the University of Idaho. Seven of the eight fluoroalkyl and hydrofluoroalkyl phosphorus compounds targeted for synthesis were ultimately prepared for flame extinguishment characterization using the NMERI Cup-burner.
Special Publication (NIST SP) - 984-4
Report Number


Mather, J. , Tapscott, R. , Shreeve, J. and Singh, R. (2003), Fluoroalkyl Phosphorus Compounds, Special Publication (NIST SP), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed May 22, 2024)


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Created January 1, 2003, Updated February 19, 2017