In our previous Brandforsk project we showed the potential of phytic acid and metal phytates to function as environmentally friendly flame retardants on cotton and wood. By combining phytic acid with various metal ions in different molar ratios, pH, and concentrations we could explain the underlying mechanisms of the flame retardant properties.
What we could see was that depending on the mixture of ions, we can get an insoluble coating (i.e., a coating that does not leach by rain, for example) that decomposes endothermically (removes heat), hinders the release of pyrolysis gases, dilutes the oxygen in air, terminates the radical reactions, and forms an intumescent layer, which is believed to alter the thermal properties. Thus, the flame retardant can remove all of the necessary requirements for a fire (fuel, heat, oxygen, radical reaction). However, the optimal mixture that can balance all of the above mentioned properties in the most efficient way, is yet to be found. As a continuation, we now want to use the chemical understanding obtained, to further optimize the flame retardant, bringing it closer to being useful for improved fire safety in everyday life. The focus will be on cotton.
Project leader Anna-Carin Larsson
Participants Anuttam Patra