Highly efficient flame retardant and smoke suppression mechanism of boron modified graphene Oxide/Poly(Lactic acid)nanocomposites

Benjamin Tawiah, Bin Yu, Richard K.K. Yuen, Yuan Hu, Ruichao Wei, John H. Xin, Bin Fei

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Simultaneous flame retardancy and tensile strength enhancement of poly(lactic acid)(PLA)is particularly important due to its eco-friendliness and potential application as an engineering plastic. This work investigates the application of azo-boron (AZOB)modified reduced graphene oxide (RGO)intercalated by sodium metaborate (SMB)for simultaneous flame retardant (FR), smoke/toxic fumes suppression and tensile strength enhancement of PLA nanocomposites. The RGO-AZOB/SMB hybrid was prepared by aryl grafting of AZOB on GO followed by in-situ reduction/intercalation with sodium borohydride/SMB. Then RGO-AZOB/SMB hybrid was incorporated into PLA, and the properties were examined. Cone calorimeter test demonstrates improved FR performance by substantial reductions in peak heat release rate ∼76.5%, total heat release ∼76.9%, total smoke release ∼55.6%, peak CO production ∼25.9% and peak CO2 production by ∼78.6%. A V-0 rating was attained in the UL 94 test with a higher LOI value of 31.2%. Considerable reductions in pyrolysis products, mainly hydrocarbons, CO, CO2, and carbonyl compounds were observed. The tensile strength and Young's Modulus were improved by 49.1% and 34.9% respectively. The FR mechanism of RGO-AZOB/SMB/PLA nanocomposites is based primarily on the glassy charring effect of the B–OH groups in AZOB and the inherent lamellar blocking effect of RGO.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-20
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019


  • Boron
  • Cone calorimeter
  • Flame retardant
  • Graphene oxide
  • Sodium metaborate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)

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