Fire Properties of Polystyrene-Clay Nanocomposites
Chemistry of Materials
Polystyrene−clay nanocomposites have been prepared using a bulk polymerization technique. Three new “onium” salts have been used to prepare the nanocomposites, two are functionalized ammonium salts while the third is a phosphonium salt. By TGA/FTIR, both ammonium and phosphonium treatments have been shown to degrade by a Hofmann elimination mechanism at elevated temperatures. TGA/FTIR showed that the phosphonium treatment is the most thermally stable treatment when compared to the two ammonium salts. The nanocomposites were characterized by X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, strength and elongation at break, as a measure of the mechanical properties, thermogravimetric analysis, and cone calorimetry. The onset temperature of the degradation is increased by about 50 °C and the peak heat release rate is reduced by 27−58%, depending upon the amount of clay that is present. The mass loss rates are also significantly reduced in the presence of the clay.