Functionalized graphene oxide for fire safety applications of polymers: a combination of condensed phase flame retardant strategies

This article Was published in Journal of Materials Chemistry, 12 Sep 2012.


Graphene is promising for fire safety applications of polymers, but the ease of burn out limits further developments. A novel strategy based on functionalized graphene oxide (FGO) is developed to overcome this challenge. Graphene oxide is functionalized with char-catalyzing agents and reactive compounds and incorporated into polystyrene. When FGO/polystyrene composites are degraded or burned, FGO catalyzes the char formation from polystyrene (Char A). Char A protects FGO from burning out and then FGO acts as a graphitic char (Char B). Because of the combination of Char A, Char B, physical barrier effect of FGO, and strong interface interaction among FGO and polymer, the fire safety properties of the FGO/polystyrene composites are improved, including decreased peak CO release rate (66 %), decreased peak CO2 release rate (54 %), decreased peak heat release rate (53%), decreased thermal degradation rate (30% decrease), decreased total heat release (38% decrease), and increased char formation (7 times), etc. This strategy combines several condensed phase flame retardant strategies such as nanocomposite technique, intumescent flame retardant systems and phosphorous-nitrogen synergism systems, and hence results in more significant improvements as compared with prior works.


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