Effect of oxygen plasma pretreatment and titanium dioxide overlay coating on flame retardant finished cotton fabrics

Yin Ling Lam, Chi Wai Kan, Chun Wah Yuen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Flammability properties of plasma pretreated cotton fabrics subjected to flame-retardant treatment were studied. Plasma pretreatment, using an atmospheric pressure plasma jet (APPJ), was applied to cotton fabrics to enhance material properties, while retaining inherent advantages of the substrates. An organic phosphorus compound (flame-retardant agent, FR) together with a melamine resin (crosslinking agent, CL) and phosphoric acid (catalyst, PA) were used. Titanium dioxide (TiO2) or nano-TiO2 was used as a co-catalyst for cotton fabrics to improve treatment effectiveness and minimize side effects. Surface morphology of plasma pretreated cotton specimens subjected to flame-retardant treatment showed a roughened and wrinkled fabric surface with high deposition of the finishing agent, caused by an etching effect of plasma and attack of acidic FR. Combustibility of FR-CL-PA-TiO2 and FR-CL-PA-Nano-TiO2 treated fabrics was evaluated by a 45° flammability test. FR-CL-PA-treated specimens showed superior flame-retardancy, which was further improved by plasma pretreatment and addition of metal oxide as a co-catalyst. However, in comparison with the control sample, flame-retardant-treated cotton specimens had lower breaking load and tearing strength, resulting from side effects of the crosslinking agent used, while plasma pretreatment might compensate for the reduction in tensile strength caused by flame-retardant agents. In addition, both plasma pretreatment and metal oxide co-catalyst added in the flame-retardant finishing improved the crosslinking process between FR and cotton fabric, minimizing formation of free formaldehyde and allowing the use of FR in industry.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1454-1474
Number of pages21
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2011


  • Cotton
  • Flame-retardant
  • Plasma pretreatment
  • Titanium dioxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Bioengineering


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