Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Promising fire retardant results when clay nanofiller has space

08.07.2011
If materials scientists accompanied their research with theme songs, a team from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Maryland (UMD) might be tempted to choose the garage punk song "Don't Crowd Me"* as the anthem for the promising, but still experimental nanocomposite fire retardants they are studying.

That's because the collaborators have demonstrated that the more widely and uniformly dispersed nanoscale plates of clay are in a polymer, the more fire protection the nanocomposite material provides.

Writing in the journal Polymer,** the team reports that in tests of five specimens—each with the same amount of the nanoscale filler (5 percent by weight)—the sample with the most widely dispersed clay plates was far more resistant to igniting and burning than the specimen in which the plates mostly clustered in crowds. In fact, when the two were exposed to the same amount of heat for the same length of time, the sample with the best clay dispersion degraded far more slowly. Additionally, its reduction in mass was about a third less.

In the NIST/UMD experiments, the material of interest was a polymer—a type of polystyrene, used in packaging, insulation, plastic cutlery and many other products—imbued with nanometer scale plates of montmorillonite, a type of clay with a sandwich-like molecular structure. The combination can create a material with unique properties or properties superior to those achievable by each component—clay or polymer—on its own.

Polymer-montmorillonite nanocomposites have attracted much research and commercial interest over the last decade or so. Studies have suggested that how the clay plates disperse, stack or clump in polymers dictates the properties of the resultant material. However, the evidence—especially when it comes to the flammability properties of the nanocomposites—has been somewhat muddy.

Led by NIST guest researcher Takashi Kashiwagi, the NIST-UMD team subjected their clay-dispersion-varying samples to an exhaustive battery of characterization methods and flammability tests. Affording views from the nanoscopic to the microscopic, the array of measurements and flammability tests yielded a complete picture of how the nanoscale clay plates dispersed in the polymer and how the resultant material responded when exposed to an influx of heat.

The researchers found that with better dispersion, clay plates entangle more easily when exposed to heat, thereby forming a network structure that is less likely to crack and leading to fewer gaps in the material. The result, they say, is a heat shield that slows the rate of degradation and reduces flammability. The NIST team, led by Rick Davis, is now exploring other approaches to reduce flammability, including the use of advanced materials and novel coating techniques.

* Keith Kessler, "Don't Crowd Me."

** M. Liu, X. Zhang, M. Zammarano, J.W. Gilman, R.D. Davis and T. Kashiwagi. Effect of Montmorillonite dispersion on flammability properties of poly(styrene-co-acrylonitrile) nanocomposites. Polymer. Vol. 52, Issue 14, June 22, 2011.

Mark Bello | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nist.gov

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Electron tomography technique leads to 3-D reconstructions at the nanoscale
24.05.2018 | The Optical Society

nachricht These could revolutionize the world
24.05.2018 | Vanderbilt University

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

When corals eat plastics

24.05.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Surgery involving ultrasound energy found to treat high blood pressure

24.05.2018 | Medical Engineering

First chip-scale broadband optical system that can sense molecules in the mid-IR

24.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>