Phytic Acid and Biochar: An Effective All Bio-Sourced Flame Retardant Formulation for Cotton Fabrics.Polymers (Basel). 2020 Apr 04; 12(4)P
Flame retardant systems based on bio-sourced products combine quite high fire performances with the low environmental impact related to their synthesis and exploitation. In this context, this work describes a new all bio-sourced flame retardant system designed and applied to cotton fabrics. In particular, it consists of phytic acid (PA), a phosphorus-based naturally occurring molecule extracted from different plant tissues, in combination with biochar (BC), a carbon-rich solid product obtained from the thermo-chemical conversion of biomasses in an oxygen-limited environment. PA and BC were mixed together at a 1:1 weight ratio in an aqueous medium, and applied to cotton at different loadings. As revealed by flammability and forced combustion tests, this bio-sourced system was able to provide significant improvements in flame retardance of cotton, even limiting the final dry add-on on the treated fabrics at 8 wt.% only. The so-treated fabrics were capable to achieve self-extinction in both horizontal and vertical flame spread tests; besides, they did not ignite under the exposure to 35 kW/m2 irradiative heat flux. Conversely, the proposed flame retardant treatment did not show a high washing fastness, though the washed flame retarded fabrics still exhibited a better flame retardant behavior than untreated cotton.