Effect of titanium dioxide on the flame-retardant finishing of cotton fabric

Y. L. Lam, Chi Wai Kan, C. W M Yuen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, titanium dioxide (TiO2) or nano titanium dioxide (nano-TiO2) was used as a cocatalyst in the flame-retardant (FR) formulation of N-methylol dimethylphosphonopropionamide (Pyrovatex CP New, FR), melamine resin [Knittex CHN, crosslinking agent (CL)], and phosphoric acid (PA) for cotton fabrics to improve the treatment effectiveness and minimize the side effects of the treatment. For FR-treated cotton fabrics, the flame extinguished right after removal of the ignition source with no flame spreading. However, after neutralization and/or home laundering, FR-CL-treated specimens failed the flammability test, whereas the opposite results were obtained from FR-CL-PA-treated specimens. A noticeable result was that the TiO 2/nano-TiO2 cocatalyst had a significant effect on decreasing the flame-spread rate. Thermal analysis found that the FR-treated specimens without wet posttreatment showed two endothermic peaks representing the phosphorylation of cellulose and acid-catalyzed dehydration. In addition, the treated fabrics showed some new characteristic peaks in their chemical structures; these were interpreted as carbonyl bands, CH2 rocking bands, and CH3 asymmetric and CH2 symmetric stretching. The surface morphology of the FR-CL-PA-treated cotton specimens showed a roughened and wrinkled fabric surface with a high deposition of the finishing agent that had a lower breaking load and tearing strength, which resulted from the side effects of the CL used. However, the addition of a TiO2 or nano-TiO2 cocatalyst could compensate for the reduction in the tensile strength.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-278
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Applied Polymer Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2011


  • catalyst
  • crosslinking
  • flame retardance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Chemistry(all)


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