Acid-Doped Biopolymer Nanocoatings for Flame-Retardant Polyurethane Foam

Soft furnishing fires contribute to 29% of fire causalities and $8.7 billion in direct property damage annually in the United States. Polyurethane foam (PUF), a common component in soft furnishings known for its comfort and flexibility, can emit toxic gases and propagate fires due to melt dripping when ignited. Various acid salts were added to a layer-by-layer assembled nanocoating, consisting of chitosan and carboxymethyl cellulose, to improve PUF flame retardancy and to understand the influence of salt-doping on flammability. The 20-bilayer phosphoric acid-doped coating exhibits a self-extinguishing behavior, with a 67% reduction in peak heat release rate while maintaining the structural integrity of the foam. By depositing this completely environmentally sourced coating on PUF, the inherent danger of soft furnishing fires can be significantly reduced in a nontoxic manner.

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N. A. Vest, T. J. Kolibaba, A. O. Afonso, S. A. Kulatilaka, E. T. Iverson, J. C. Grunlan, ACS Appl. Polym. Mater. 2022In Press.