The synergistic effect of four different boron containing substances, zinc borate (ZnB), borophosphate (BPO4), boron silicon containing preceramic oligomer (BSi) and lanthanum borate (LaB), were studied to improve the flame retardancy of a polypropylene (PP) intumescent system composed of ammonium polyphosphate (APP) and pentaerythritol (PER). The flame retardancy of PP composites was investigated by limiting oxygen index (LOI). UL-94 standard, thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and cone calorimeter tests. The addition of 20 wt% intumescent flame retardant (IFR) improves the flame retardancy by increasing the char formation. According to LOI and UL-94 test, boron compounds show their highest synergistic effect at I wt% loading. BPO4 containing composite shows the highest LOI (30), lowest maximum heat release rate (HRR) and lowest total heat release rate (THR) value. Although the char yield increases as the amount of boron compounds increases, the flame retarding effect decreases. Cone calorimeter and TGA data indicate that the boron compounds are likely to show their synergistic effect by reinforcing the integrity of char which improves its barrier effect rather than increasing the char yield. (C) 2010 Published by Elsevier Ltd.