Skip to main content
ARS Home » Southeast Area » New Orleans, Louisiana » Southern Regional Research Center » Cotton Chemistry and Utilization Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #297681

Title: Surface coating for flame-retardant behavior of cotton fabric using a continuous layer-by-layer process

item Chang, Sechin
item Slopek, Ryan
item Condon, Brian
item GRUNLAN, JAIME - Texas A&M University

Submitted to: Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/20/2014
Publication Date: 2/20/2014
Citation: Chang, S., Slopek, R.P., Condon, B.D., Grunlan, J.C. 2014. Surface coating for flame-retardant behavior of cotton fabric using a continuous layer-by-layer process. Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research. 53(10):3805-3812.

Interpretive Summary: Interest in developing new flame retardant systems for cotton containing materials has increased in the last 5-10 years due to environmental and toxicological concerns associated mainly with existing halogenated systems. This work demonstrates early results which indicate that simple common chemicals containing nitrogen and phosphorus can be applied to cotton fabrics in conjunction with a clay nanoparticle/polymer coating process. Flammability and thermal decomposition of the treated fabrics is greatly reduced. A commercially viable process for treating fabrics continuously is presented.

Technical Abstract: Cotton’s exceptional softness, breathability, and absorbency have made it America’s best selling textile fiber; however, cotton textiles are generally more combustible than their synthetic counterparts. In this study, a continuous layer-by-layer self-assembly technique was used to deposit polymer-clay nanocoatings on cotton fabrics to enhance their flame retardancy. Alternating layers of positively charged branched polyethylenimine (BPEI) with urea and diammoium phosphate and negatively charged clay nanoparticles were continuously applied to the fabrics in single process without rinsing. The morphology and flame retardant properties of the coated fabrics were characterized using SEM and a variety of flammability tests. The treated fabrics exhibited improved thermal stability, as evidenced by increased ignition times and lower heat release rates. The results of this study show that flame retardant nanocoatings can be readily applied to textile fabrics using a continuous process that is ideal for commercial and industrial applications.