Fouad Laoutid, Materia Nova Research Centre Belgium, presented research into fire safety functionalisation of polylactide (PLA, a bio-based polymer) by inserting phosphorus compounds, such as DOPO-diamine, as initiator for lactide ring opening polymerization. A catalyst and an initiator are used to open lactide rings to promote the formation of PLA. The phosphorylated oligomers so obtained are combined with a chain extender to form phosphorylated PLA with higher molecular weight, with the possibility to control the overall polymer chain length and the frequency in the chain of phosphorus molecule insertions. Polylactide modified to contain 4 % P by weight, in a 0.8 mm film, showed a c. 35% reduction in peak heat release rate (PHRR) and in total heat release (THR), and no burning droplets. A 50/50 mix of neat PLA and this modified PLA (overall 2 % P) was self-extinguishing (0.8 mm film) with no burning droplets, and retained transparency.
Materia Nova Research Centre Belgium
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