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Nanocomposites: A Revolutionary New Flame Retardant Approach.

pdf icon Nanocomposites: A Revolutionary New Flame Retardant Approach. (1438 K)
Gilman, J. W.; Kashiwagi, T.; Lichtenhan, J. D.

Evolving Technologies for the Competitive Edge. SAMPE Symposium and Exhibition, 42nd International Proceedings. Volume 42. Book 2. Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (SAMPE). May 4-8, 1997, Anaheim, CA, Haulik, T., Bailey, V., Burton, R., Editors, 1078-1089 pp, 1997 AND Fire Retardancy of Polymeric Materials, 6th European Meeting. F.R.P.M. '97. Proceedings. Lectures. LCAPS, Ecole Nationale Superieure de Chimie de Lille (ENSCL) and Centre de Recherche et d'Etude sur les Procedes d'Ignifugation des Materiaux (CREPIM). Lille, France. September 24-26, 1997, 19-20 pp, 1997, 1997.


clay; cone calorimeters; fire retardants; heat release rate; nanocomposites; physical properties


To evaluate the feasibility of controlling polymer flammability via a nanocomposite approach, we have examined the flammability properties of nylon-6 clay-nanocomposites. The fire retardant (FR) properties of this new class of materials, organic-inorganic nanocomposites, are reported. The cone calorimeter data show that the peak heat release rate (HRR), the most important parameter for predicting fire hazard, is reduced by 63 percent in a nylon-6 clay-nanocomposite containing a clay mass fraction of only five percent. Not only is this a very efficient FR system, but, it does not have the usual drawbacks associated with other FR additives. This is, the physical properties are not degraded by the additive (clay), instead they are greatly improved. Furthermore, this system does not increase the carbon monoxide or soot produced during the combustion, as many commercial fire retardants do. The nanocomposite structure appears to enhance the performance of the char through reinforcement of the char layer. Indeed, transmission electron microscopy (TEM) of a section of the combustion char from the nylon-6 clay-nanocomposite (five percent) shows a multilayered silicate structure. This layer may act as an insulator and a mass transport barrier slowing the escape of the volatile products generated as the nylon-6 decomposes.