November 16, 2017

Integrating flame retardants with structural materials

Existing insulation products are good thermal insulators but highly flammable and release toxic smoke following ignition. Nano-coating technology has the potential to minimise the flammability of insulation materials. Nevertheless, these surface coatings may develop cracks after long-term environment exposure. A bio-inspired catecholic nano-coating such as polydopamine (PDA) can be added to epoxy (or any other thermoset materials) to transform the solid materials to be flame-resistant. The dispersion of carbon nanotubes in epoxy has been found to yield significant improvement which can be achieved by coating a nano-thin PDA layer onto the carbon nanotube surface. Building upon existing methods such as nanoparticle adsorption, layer by layer assembly, sol-gel, dual cure processes, and plasma deposition, we will in this project advance durable nano-coatings to produce strong, dense, crack-free flame-retarding surface layers to protect insulating structural materials.