The influence of carbon nanotubes on the combustion toxicity of PP/intumescent flame retardant composites

Zhang, Qiangjun, Zhan, Jing, Zhou, Keqing, Lu, Hongdian, Zeng, Wenru, Stec, Anna A orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-6861-0468, Hull, T Richard orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7970-4208, Hu, Yuan and Gui, Zhou (2015) The influence of carbon nanotubes on the combustion toxicity of PP/intumescent flame retardant composites. Polymer Degradation and Stability, 115 . pp. 38-44. ISSN 01413910

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In recent years, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have emerged as a promising candidate for improving the flame retardancy of polymer materials, as well as other physical properties. However, few researches have been focused on the influence of this nanoscale material on the combustion toxicity of polymer composites during combustion. In this work, the fire toxicity of polypropylene (PP) composites with intumescent flame retardants (IFRs) and CNTs has been investigated by a Purser Furnace apparatus, which is called steady state tube furnace (SSTF) and enables different fire stages to be created. The Thermo gravimetric analyzer (TGA) and derivative thermo gravimetric analysis (DTG) data indicate that the thermal stability of PP composites was increased by the addition of IFRs or CNTs. However, the SSTF results show that PP samples with IFR or CNTs or both, produced much more carbon monoxide (CO) compared to neat PP during all fire stages, resulting in a much lower CO2/CO ratio. Furthermore, an interesting finding is that the effect of CNTs on the smoke production and CxHy yield of the PP samples during the combustion changes with the combustion equivalence ratio. It indicates that the presence of CNTs promote the formation of smoke particulates from hydrocarbon, but this effect only exist when oxygen supply is not adequate. It is also concluded that the air ventilation and combustion temperature play significant roles in the fire effluent production of PP samples and the morphology of soot particulates.

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