Polyelectrolyte Complex with Controllable Viscosity by Doping Cu2+ Protects Nylon–cotton Fabric Against Fire

Nylon–cotton (NC) blend fabrics are widely used in military and industrial applications, but their high flammability still remains a serious problem. In an effort to effectively and quickly impart flame retardancy to the NC fabric, it was treated by simply blade coating with a Cu2+-doped polyelectrolyte complex (CPEC) that consists of ammonium polyphosphate (APP), polyethylenimine (PEI), and copper sulfate. The viscosity of the CPEC can be adjusted by altering the content of CuSO4, which controls the amount of extrinsic and intrinsic ion pairs. By adjusting the proportion and content of PEI, APP, and CuSO4, CPEC suitable for treating the NC fabric was obtained. Only 0.067 wt % Cu2+ was needed to adjust the viscosity and impart self-extinguishing behavior in a vertical burning test. This simple two-step treatment provides a promising technology to protect flammable polymeric substrates with ultralow metal-doped polyelectrolyte complexes.

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J.-L. He, W. Luo, T. Wang, L. He, J.-N. Deng, Z.-C. Fu, J. C. Grunlan, M.-J. Chen, ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces2022, 14, 54225.