Investigation of the Flammability and Thermal Stability of Halogen-Free Intumescent System in Biopolymer Composites Containing Biobased Carbonization Agent and Mechanism of Their Char Formation

Muhammad Maqsood*, Gunnar Seide

*Corresponding author for this work

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Starch, being a polyhydric compound with its natural charring ability, is an ideal candidate to serve as a carbonization agent in an intumescent system. This charring ability of starch, if accompanied by an acidic source, can generate an effective intumescent flame retardant (IFR) system, but the performance of starch-based composites in an IFR system has not been tested in detail. Here, we describe a PLA-based IFR system consisting of ammonium polyphosphate (APP) as acidic source and cornstarch as carbon source. We prepared different formulations by melt compounding followed by molding into sheets by hot pressing. The thermal behavior and surface morphology of the composites was investigated by thermogravimetric analysis and scanning electron microscopy respectively. We also conducted limiting oxygen index (LOI), UL-94, and cone calorimetry tests to characterize the flame-retardant properties. Cone calorimetry revealed a 66% reduction in the peak heat release rate of the IFR composites compared to pure PLA and indicated the development of an intumescent structure by leaving a residual mass of 43% relative to the initial mass of the sample. A mechanism of char formation has also been discussed in detail.

Original languageEnglish
Article number48
Number of pages16
Issue number1
Early online date30 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • biopolymer composites
  • carbonization agent
  • thermal analysis
  • flame retardancy
  • char formation
  • ACID
  • FIRE

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