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Bio-inspired engineering of boron nitride with iron-derived nanocatalyst toward enhanced fire retardancy of epoxy resin

Li, Zhi, Montero Lira, Sara Isabel, Zhang, Lu, Expósito, Daniel Fernández, Heeralal, Vignesh Babu, Wang, De-Yi
Polymer degradation and stability 2018 v.157 pp. 119-130
active sites, boron nitride, carbon monoxide, engineering, epoxides, fire safety, fire spread, heat, nanocomposites, nanohybrids, nanoparticles, nanosheets, oxygen, polymers, smoke, thermal conductivity
Aiming at improving fire retardancy of epoxy resin (EP), the thermal-exfoliated boron nitride nanosheets (BN) underwent the bio-inspired polydopamine (PDA) nano-coating and in-situ interfacial growth of iron-derived nanocatalyst (Fe) to prepare nanohybrid (BN@PDA@Fe). The design complied with principles: 1) PDA promoted the dispersion of BN in EP matrix and offered active sites for functionalization 2) bio-stabilized iron-derived nanoparticles catalyzed the polyaromatic reaction towards higher quality. Resultantly, 6 wt% BN@PDA@Fe increased limiting oxygen index (LOI) of EP by 10.0% and suppressed fire spread in UL-94 test. The peak heat release rate (pHRR) was reduced by 38.9% with notably suppressed CO and smoke production. Ignition time, as a key aspect of fire safety, was effectively delayed due to enhanced thermal conductivity of BN-based EP nanocomposites. The optimization of char structure due to the interfacial charring accounted for the improved fire retardancy. In perspective, the bio-inspired engineering of BN offered a viable approach to improving fire safety of polymers.