Mica-Based Multilayer Nanocoating as a Highly Effective Flame Retardant and Smoke Suppressant

Highly flammable polyurethane foam (PUF) remains a key risk factor associated with bedding and upholstered furniture, contributing to the yearly destruction of property and loss of lives. In an attempt to tackle this issue and develop a more benign flame retardant for PUF, a mica-based nanocomposite was deposited using layer-by-layer assembly. Chitosan (CH) and poly(acrylic acid) (PAA) were used to stabilize high-aspect-ratio mica. Foam treated with eight bilayers of CH- and PAA-stabilized mica preserves the porous foam structure, prevents melt dripping, and self-extinguishes during a 10 s torch test, while uncoated foam is completely consumed. When exposed to 35 kW/m2 heat flux during cone calorimetry, the peak heat release rate is reduced by 54% and less-volatile molecules are released during combustion, resulting in a 76% reduction in the total smoke release. This multilayer coating serves as an environmentally benign template for flame-retarding PUF and various other three-dimensional substrates.

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A. Fahami, J. Lee, S. Lazar, J. C. Grunlan, ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2020, 12, 17.
Published in April 2020