Flame-retardant paper from wood fibers functionalized via layer-by-layer assembly
The highly flammable character of cellulose-rich fibers from wood limits their use in some advanced materials. To suppress the flammability and introduce flame-retardant properties to individual pulp fibers, we deposited nanometer thin films consisting of cationic chitosan (CH) and anionic poly(vinylphosphonic acid) (PVPA) on fibers using the layer-by-layer (LbL) technique. The buildup of the multilayer film was investigated in the presence and absence of salt (NaCl) using model cellulose surfaces and a quartz crystal microbalance technique. Fibers were then treated with the same strategy, and the treated fibers were used to prepare paper sheets. A horizontal flame test (HFT) and cone calorimetry were conducted to evaluate the combustion behavior of paper sheets as a function of the number of bilayers deposited on fibers. In HFT, paper made of fibers coated with 20 CH/PVPA bilayers (BL), self-extinguished the flame, while uncoated fibers were completely consumed. Scanning electron microscopy of charred paper after HFT revealed that a thin shell of the charred polymeric multilayer remained after the cellulose fibers had been completely oxidized. Cone calorimetry demonstrated that the phosphorus-containing thin films (20 BL is ∼25 nm) reduced the peak heat release rate by 49%. This study identifies a unique and highly effective way to impart flame-retardant characteristic to pulp fibers and the papers made from these fibers.
Koklukaya, O; Carosio, F; Grunlan, JC; Wagberg, L; ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces; 2016, 7 (42), 23750-23759.