Project Title: Catalyzing Carbonization Flame Retardant Mechanism of Polystyrene/Zirconium phosphate Nanocomposites
Principal Investigator: Postdoc Lu Hongdian
Funding Source: National Natural Science Foundation of China
Project Period: 2010-2012
For fire safety consideration, flame retardant polymer materials are required in many applications. The catalyzing carbonization of polymers themselves by catalysts during combustion for improving flame retardancy is active and promising in the flame retardant field. The layered nanometer crystalline zirconium phosphates (ZrP) as solid acid catalysts hold high promise for the applications due to their great potential in forcing polymer chains to participate into the carbonization process. In this project, structure and morphology of ZrP will be controlled by adjusting the intercalated organic compounds, and their compositions, particle size and dispersion, and interface characteristics will be investigated firstly. Secondly, flame retardant polystyrene-ZrP nanocomposites will be prepared and catalyzing carbonization mechanism induced by the catalyst with nano-size effect and barrier effect will be studied. By investigating the structure, formulation and thermo-physical properties of the intermediates and the residual char generated during different degradation stages or combustion conditions, and the conversion of the char microstructure into graphite sheets, it is expected to establish the inherent relationships among polymer nanostructure, char formation and flammability properties of the materials. Based on these results, a possible mechanism on catalyzing carbonization will be provided. The research results can not only provide experiment basis for high-performance fire safety polystyrene nanocomposites, but promote the development of the next flame retardant nanocomposites.