Synergy Between Nanocomposite Formation and Low Levels of Bromine on Fire Retardancy in Polystyrenes
Polymer Degradation and Stability
An organically-modified clay has been prepared using ammonium salts which contain an oligomeric material consisting of vinylbenzyl chloride, styrene and dibromostyrene. The presence of dibromostyrene enhances the flame retardancy of polystyrene nanocomposites compared to both the virgin polymer and polystyrene nanocomposites prepared from non-halogen-containing organically-modified clays. The nanocomposites were prepared both by bulk polymerization and melt blending and they were evaluated by X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, thermogravimetric analysis and cone calorimetry measurements. Bulk polymerization produced nanocomposites with reduced peak heat release rate, reduced total heat release and improved thermal stability. It is noteworthy that all these improvements were obtained with clay loading as low as 3% and bromine content less than 4%.