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Final Report Summary - ECOFIRE-NANO (New generation of eco-benign multifunctional layered double hydroxide (LDH)-based fire retardant and nanocomposites)

The main objective of the project is to develop new generation biobased layered double hydroxide (LDH) based fire retardant with good anti-UV property, by applying an innovative molecular design, sophisticated synthesis and intelligent assembly. As a novel multifunctional nano fire retardant, it is expected to be integrates the present advantages from inorganic fire retardant, intumescent fire retardant, nano fire retardant and reactive fire retardant in the state-of-the-art and possesses new properties (like anti-UV property). The results obtained provide a comprehensive route for the potential industrial application of these new functional LDH in some polymer system to provide fire safety and multifunction.
The initial stage of the project is to develop multifunctional LDH-based fire retarant with the features of sustainability, environmental friendliness, high efficiency, smoke suppression and anti-UV ray. This is a critical to the next study that such LDHs are used as new fillers to the model polymer system, such as Epoxy resin and Polypropylene. In order to achieve these goals, a combinative principles of biobased, intumescent, and fire-retardant modifier for LDH, and design and assemble biobased UV absorber on the modifier of LDH are integrated.
A further output of ECOFIRE-NANO has been the discovery that the obtained functional LDHs developed in the initial stage had been significant efficiency on the flame retardancy on epoxy. It had been reported in our publications by using only 6-8% designed LDHs imparted epoxy outstanding flame retardancy and mechanical enhancement. Such efficiency on the flame retardancy is much higher than the traditional flame retardants available in the literature and markets. Besides the epoxy resin system, the designed LDHs also are used in polypropylene and wood polymer composites in order to investigate their flame retardant efficiency, indicated that such LDHs had expectedly synergistic effect on the flame retardancy. In particular, following the initial idea in the ECOFIRE-NANO, the anti-UV properties has been successfully integrated into the functions of designed LDHs and are proved in the polymer system. It has great significance as novel functional nanomaterials to polymers for further industrial application since the property of the UV resistance is very important issue to the polymers which often used in the outdoor use. These results pave the way for the development of LDH based high efficiently flame retardants to polymers to impart them fire safety and multifunction.
Aiming at understanding the improved flame retardancy caused by these novel LDHs, we have carried out a study on the flame retardant mechanism in LDH/Epoxy nanocomposites. The results clearly showed that the introduction of functional LDHs into epoxy resin provided significant difference on both of the solid phase (Morphology of char residue, insulation effect, and quality of the char reside) and gas phase (flammable volatiles), as compared with the conventional LDH based epoxy nanocomposites. ECOFIRE-NANO has provided a first model to describe such mechanism in the polymer nanocomposite system. As part of ECOFIRE-NANO we have explored different synthesis/functionalization routes for LDH. On the base of these studies, functional LDH as nanocarrier are developed which are seen as an attractive topic to the functional polymer nanocomposites.
The outcome of ECOFIRE-NANO has formed potential socio-economic impact. For example, by organizing the Marie Curie Open Day Activities, and Scientific Week Activities, the public including the University students, primary and middle school students, etc., obtained results in ECOFIRE-NANO let them know how important the fire safety to the society, and how the new technology improves the human life. In addition, the achieved outcome from ECOFIRE-NANO to offer a new fire retardant technology to polymeric materials; this technology has attracted more attention to some industrial partners, such as RUICO Company that is a global flame retardant textile company. Based on the outcome of ECOFIRE-NANO, It can predict that some potential economic impact will form by the technology transfer to the industry and/or establishing new R&D collaboration with industrial partners.
The High Performance Polymer Nanocomposites group is working in continuing this research, extending it to new areas and is actively involved in collaborating with partners to pave the way for the industrial implementation of functionalized LDHs. For more details please contact Dr.De-Yi Wang (

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