Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > A “Nano,” Environmentally Friendly, and Low Toxicity Flame Retardant Protects Fabric

Credit: Jaime Grunlan, Ph.D. 
Fire completely destroys untreated cotton fabric until nothing remains (control), but only burns a small spot on cotton treated with a new flame-retardant nanocoating (coated fabric).
Credit: Jaime Grunlan, Ph.D.

Fire completely destroys untreated cotton fabric until nothing remains (control), but only burns a small spot on cotton treated with a new flame-retardant nanocoating (coated fabric).

Abstract:
The technology in "fire paint" used to protect steel beams in buildings and other structures has found a new life as a first-of-its-kind flame retardant for children's cotton sleepwear, terrycloth bathrobes and other apparel, according to a report presented here today at the 242nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

A “Nano,” Environmentally Friendly, and Low Toxicity Flame Retardant Protects Fabric

Denver, CO | Posted on September 1st, 2011

"People are concerned about the potential toxicity of flame retardants that are currently used on a variety of products, especially children's pajamas and the foam in children's car seats," said Jaime C. Grunlan, Ph.D., who led the research. "The water-based ingredients in this new coating are much less toxic to humans than the so-called ‘halogenated' or ‘brominated' flame retardants used in the past, and they are more environmentally friendly."

Grunlan explained that flame retardants are used on cotton, the most popular fabric in the world, because it can catch fire easily and burns rapidly with a hot flame. Flame retardants make it more difficult for fabrics to ignite, make them burn slower and make fabrics self-extinguish when the flame is removed. That margin of safety is especially important for clothing fires, which can cause severe and disfiguring injuries. Flame retardants allow time to remove the clothing or put out the flames.

In responding to the need for more environmentally friendly flame retardants, Grunlan's team turned to a technology termed "intumescence," long used to fireproof exposed interior steel beams in buildings. At the first lick of a flame, an intumescent coating swells up and expands like beer foam, forming tiny bubbles in a protective barrier that insulates and shields the material below. The researchers are at Texas A&M University in College Station.

"This work is the first demonstration of a polymer-based ‘nano intumescent'," said Grunlan. "We believe it has great potential for use as flame retardants on clothing and other materials in order to avoid some of the disadvantages of existing products."

The material is "nano," or ultra-small, built up from layers of alternating positively and negatively charged polymers so thin that almost 50,000 would fit across the width of a human hair. Size has an advantage, Grunlan explained. Because these layers are so thin, the polymer liquid seeps deep into cotton fabric and onto each individual cotton fiber. Existing flame retardants, in contrast, simply settle on fiber bundles like armor and slow the spread of flames, but the fabric still burns and turns black. When the new nano coating is exposed to a flame, it expands slightly and stops the fire from igniting and burning the fabric — which remains white, except for the small area where the cotton directly touches the flame.

Grunlan noted that the new flame retardant addresses public concerns about the potential toxicity of flame retardants now used on a variety of products, especially children's pajamas and the foam inside children's car seats and toys, and pointed out that the water-based polymers used in the nanocoating are much less toxic to humans than other flame retardants used today.

Would clothing coated with the nano intumescent be stiff and dull? "The look and texture of the fabric would depend on the thickness of the coating and also on the specific polymer we use," Grunlan pointed out. The nanocoating is deposited in alternate layers of positively and negatively charged polymers; swapping one of those polymers out for a different one in the recipe could offer similar anti-flammable protection while making the fabric softer.

Grunlan's team is in the process of optimizing the flame retardant so that it remains on cotton fabrics despite frequent laundering. "We haven't done anything yet to protect the coating, but we believe that with further research, we could make this an almost permanent addition to the fabric," he explained.

They also plan to test the coating on other materials, such as polyester and foam, possibly with commercial partners.

####

About American Chemical Society (ACS)
The American Chemical Society is a non-profit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 163,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Michael Bernstein

303-228-8532 (Aug. 25-Sept. 1)
202-872-6042 (Before Aug. 25)
Michael Woods

303-228-8532 (Aug. 25-Sept. 1)
202-872-6293 (Before Aug. 25)

Copyright © Newswise

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

GLOBALFOUNDRIES and Soitec Enter Into Long-term Supply Agreement on FD-SOI Wafers: Strategic milestone to help guarantee a secure, high-volume supply of FD-SOI technology September 20th, 2017

GLOBALFOUNDRIES Announces Availability of mmWave and RF/Analog on Leading FDX™ FD-SOI Technology Platform: Technology solution delivers ‘connected intelligence’ to next generation high-volume wireless and IoT applications with lower power and significantly reduced cost September 20th, 2017

GLOBALFOUNDRIES Announces Availability of Embedded MRAM on Leading 22FDX® FD-SOI Platform: Advanced embedded non-volatile memory solution delivers ‘connected intelligence’ by expanding SoC capabilities on the 22nm process node September 20th, 2017

Copper catalyst yields high efficiency CO2-to-fuels conversion: Berkeley Lab scientists discover critical role of nanoparticle transformation September 20th, 2017

Materials/Metamaterials

Copper catalyst yields high efficiency CO2-to-fuels conversion: Berkeley Lab scientists discover critical role of nanoparticle transformation September 20th, 2017

New quantum phenomena in graphene superlattices September 18th, 2017

New insights into nanocrystal growth in liquid: Understanding process that creates complex crystals important for energy applications September 14th, 2017

Corrosion in real time: UCSB researchers get a nanoscale glimpse of crevice and pitting corrosion as it happens September 14th, 2017

Announcements

GLOBALFOUNDRIES Delivers 8SW RF SOI Technology for Next-Generation Mobile and 5G Applications: Advanced 8SW 300mm SOI technology enables cost-effective, high-performance RF front-end modules for 4G LTE mobile and sub-6GHz 5G applications September 20th, 2017

GLOBALFOUNDRIES Unveils Vision and Roadmap for Next-Generation 5G Applications: Technology platforms are uniquely positioned to enable a new era of ‘connected intelligence’ with the transition to 5G September 20th, 2017

GLOBALFOUNDRIES Delivers Custom 14nm FinFET Technology for IBM Systems: Jointly developed 14HP process is world’s only technology that leverages both FinFET and SOI September 20th, 2017

GLOBALFOUNDRIES Introduces New 12nm FinFET Technology for High-Performance Applications September 20th, 2017

Home

Rice lab expands palette for color-changing glass: Nanophotonics team creates low-voltage, multicolor, electrochromic glass March 8th, 2017

Chemists Cook up New Nanomaterial and Imaging Method: Nanomaterials can store all kinds of things, including energy, drugs and other cargo January 19th, 2017

Industrial Nanotech, Inc. Announces Plans to Spin Off New Product Line to Major Paint Compan November 9th, 2016

New flexible material can make any window 'smart' August 23rd, 2016

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project