Synthesis of superhydrophobic and flame retardant electrospun fibers
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Polystyrene is the fifth largest source of hazardous waste in the United States. Due to its demand for various commercial applications, this results in landfills, and pollution of our oceans and environment. Therefore, an attempt to recycle polystyrene waste to a new functional polymer is needed to combat this issue. The major limitation of polystyrene is unable to withstand high temperature applications requiring the need for improving flame retardancy. Also, in addition to its self-cleaning properties, it will be an added advantage to enhance the durability of the non-wettability of the materials. Flame retardants can stay viable for a long time and provide higher safety properties in fires as well as self-cleaning applications. Therefore, this research paper is focused on improving two aspects, i.e. flame retardancy as well as surface wettability property using recycled extruded polystyrene (EPS), by addition of Boric acid (BA) and Silicon Dioxide (SiO2) via electrospinning methodology. A perfect combination of superhydrophobicity and flame retardancy is necessary to develop in order to enhance the durability of the non-wettability of the materials so that flame retardants can keep for a long time and provide higher safety properties in fires. The nanofibers with inclusions were successfully produced (0, 5, 10 and 15) wt% using dimethylformamide (DMF) and acetone (AC) solvent solutions. SEM, FTIR, TGA, WCA and flammability tests were performed to evaluate the morphology, thermal decomposition and fire performance. The water contact angle test was done to understand the low wetting properties of the produced fiber. From the results it is observed that combination of both 10 wt% of BA and SiO2 inclusions in EPS lead to the best results of 156.98° WCA, with a total burn time of 25 sec in the Flame Test and 83.75% of % weight loss of residue compared to 98.34% weight loss of pure EPS from the TGA analysis.
Thesis (M.S.)-- Wichita State University, College of Engineering, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering