Inorganic Nanoparticle Thin Film that Suppresses Flammability of Polyurethane with only a Single Electrostatically-Assembled Bilayer

.In an effort to reduce the flammability of polyurethane foam, a thin film of renewable inorganic nanoparticles (i.e., anionic vermiculite [VMT] and cationic boehmite [BMT]) was deposited on polyurethane foam via layer-by-layer (LbL) assembly. One, two, and three bilayers (BL) of BMT-VMT resulted in foam with retained shape after being exposed to a butane flame for 10 s, while uncoated foam was completely consumed. Cone calorimetry confirmed that the coated foam exhibited a 55% reduction in peak heat release rate with only a single bilayer deposited. Moreover, this protective nanocoating reduced total smoke release by 50% relative to untreated foam. This study revealed that 1 BL, adding just 4.5 wt % to PU foam, is an effective and conformal flame retardant coating. These results demonstrate one of the most efficient and renewable nanocoatings prepared using LbL assembly, taking this technology another step closer to commercial viability.

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Patra, D; Vangal, P; Cain, AA; Cho, C; Regev, O; Grunlan, JC. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 2014, 6 (19), 16903-16908.
Published in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces 2014