Polymeric Coacervate Coating for Flame Retardant Paper

Cellulosic paper (from wood fibers) is a highly flammable material that is used in corrugated carboard, packaging, printing, and construction. While there is significant work focused on depositing a flame retardant coating onto the individual wood pulp fibers, there are very few studies that apply flame retardant coatings to already-cast paper. In an effort to improve the flame retardant properties of paper, a polymer-dense coacervate composed of polyethylenimine (PEI) and poly(sodium phosphate) (PSP) was deposited in a single step and subsequently crosslinked with glutaraldehyde. In a vertical flame test, the crosslinked PEI/PSP coacervate-coated paper achieves self-extinguishing behavior, and an average char length of 3.4 in, with only a 35% weight gain. Additionally, the crosslinked coating retains its flame retardant properties after water immersion and conditioning tests. This coacervate system is the first polymeric coating to be successfully deposited onto commercially available cellulosic paper for the purpose of flame retardancy.

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B. Palen, M. G. Rabaey, D. Rodriguez-Melendez, E. T. Iverson, T. J. Kolibaba, J. C. Grunlan, Cellulose2022, 29, 4589.