A Flame-Retardant Phytic-Acid-Based LbL-Coating for Cotton Using Polyvinylamine
Phytic acid (PA), as a natural source of phosphorus, was immobilized on cotton (CO) in a layer-by-layer (LbL) approach with polyvinylamine (PVAm) as the oppositely charged electrolyte to create a partly bio-based flame-retardant finish. PVAm was employed as a synthetic nitrogen source with the highest density of amine groups of all polymers. Vertical flame tests revealed a flame-retardant behavior with no afterflame and afterglow time for a coating of 15 bilayers (BL) containing 2% phosphorus and 1.4% nitrogen. The coating achieved a molar P:N ratio of 3:5. Microscale combustion calorimetry (MCC) analyses affirmed the flame test findings by a decrease in peak heat release rate (pkHRR) by more than 60% relative to unfinished CO. Thermogravimetric analyses (TGA) and MCC measurements exhibited a shifted CO peak to lower temperatures indicating proceeding reactions to form an isolating char on the surface. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) coupled online with a TGA system, allowed the identification of a decreased amount of acrolein, methanol, carbon monoxide and formaldehyde during sample pyrolysis and a higher amount of released water. Thereby the toxicity of released volatiles was reduced. Our results prove that PA enables a different reaction by catalyzing cellulosic dehydration, which results in the formation of a protective char on the surface of the burned fabric.