Thermal stability and flame retardancy of polyester, cotton, and relative blend textile fabrics subjected to sol–gel treatments

Authors

  • Jenny Alongi,

    Corresponding author
    1. Dipartimento di Scienza dei Materiali e Ingegneria Chimica, Politecnico di Torino, Corso Duca degli Abruzzi 24, 10129 Torino, Italy
    • Dipartimento di Scienza dei Materiali e Ingegneria Chimica, Politecnico di Torino, Corso Duca degli Abruzzi 24, 10129 Torino, Italy
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  • Mihaela Ciobanu,

    1. Dipartimento di Scienza dei Materiali e Ingegneria Chimica, Politecnico di Torino, Corso Duca degli Abruzzi 24, 10129 Torino, Italy
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  • Jennifer Tata,

    1. Dipartimento di Scienza dei Materiali e Ingegneria Chimica, Politecnico di Torino, Corso Duca degli Abruzzi 24, 10129 Torino, Italy
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  • Federico Carosio,

    1. Dipartimento di Scienza dei Materiali e Ingegneria Chimica, Politecnico di Torino, Corso Duca degli Abruzzi 24, 10129 Torino, Italy
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  • Giulio Malucelli

    1. Dipartimento di Scienza dei Materiali e Ingegneria Chimica, Politecnico di Torino, Corso Duca degli Abruzzi 24, 10129 Torino, Italy
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Abstract

Polyester (PET), cotton (COT), and two relative blend textile fabrics were treated by sol–gel processes. Tetraethoxysilane (TEOS) was used as inorganic precursor of silica phases; furthermore, different TEOS/H2O ratios were examined to explore the effect of the presence of SiO2 on the thermal and fire stability of the textile fabrics investigated. The distribution and dispersion of SiO2 were observed by means of scanning electronic microscopy (SEM). SEM magnifications showed the formation of a continuous silica film located in the neighboring fibers; furthermore, in the case of PET, such a film incorporated silica particles with an average diameter ranging between 0.2 and 6 μm. The thermal and thermooxidative stabilities of the treated samples were investigated by thermogravimetric analysis: after the sol–gel treatment, the degradation mechanism was modified both in nitrogen and in air, and the improvement in the thermal stability was attributed to the presence of silica, which played a protective role in the degradation of the textile fabrics. Finally, we investigated the combustion behavior of the textile fabrics by cone calorimetry, measuring the time to ignition, the heat release rate, and the relative peak. The former was found to depend on the type of fabric; the latter generally evidenced a remarkable decrease for all of the treated samples, up to 35% compared to the neat counterparts. This indicated that the sol–gel treatments improved the flame retardancy of the PET/COT fabrics. This conclusion was also confirmed by limiting oxygen index tests, which evidenced burning kinetics changes in the presence of the silica coating. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2011

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