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Title: Replacing Harmful Flame Retardants with Biodegradable Starch-Based Materials in Polyethylene Formulations
Authors: Carvalho, Bárbara O. 
Gonçalves, Luís P.C. 
Mendonça, Patrícia V. 
Pereira, João P.
Serra, Arménio 
Keywords: starch; flame retardant; biodegradable polymer; polyethylene; fire behavior
Issue Date: 13-Oct-2023
Publisher: MDPI
Project: This research is sponsored by FEDER funds through the program COMPETE—Programa Operacional Factores de Competitividade—and by national funds through FCT—Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia, CEMMPRE funding (UID/EMS/00285/2020) and ARISE funding (LA/P/0112/ 2020). The 1H NMR data were collected at the UC-NMR facility which is supported in part by FEDER—European Regional Development Fund through the COMPETE Programme (Operational Programme for Competitiveness) and by National Funds through FCT (Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology) through grants REEQ/481/QUI/2006, RECI/QEQ-QFI/0168/2012, CENTRO-07-CT92-FEDER-002012, and Rede Nacional de Ressonância Magnética Nuclear (RNRMN). This research was supported by FEDER funds through the program COMPETE–Programa Operacional Factores de Competitividade—POCI-01-0247-FEDER-069481—Project Starchfire. Patrícia V. Mendonça thanks the FCT—Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology) for the financial support through the Scientific Employment Stimulus 2017 (CEECIND/00117/2017). 
Serial title, monograph or event: Polymers
Volume: 15
Issue: 20
Abstract: The addition of toxic flame retardants to commercially available polymers is often required for safety reasons due to the high flammability of these materials. In this work, the preparation and incorporation of efficient biodegradable starch-based flame retardants into a low-density polyethylene (LDPE) matrix was investigated. Thermoplastic starch was first obtained by plasticizing starch with glycerol/water or glycerol/water/choline phytate to obtain TPS-G and TPS-G-CPA, respectively. Various LDPE/TPS blends were prepared by means of melt blending using polyethylene graft maleic anhydride as a compatibilizer and by varying the content of TPS and a halogenated commercial flame retardant. By replacing 38% and 76% of the harmful commercial flame retardant with safe TPS-G-CPA and TPS-G, respectively, blends with promising fire behavior were obtained, while the limiting oxygen index (LOI ≈ 28%) remained the same. The presence of choline phytate improved both the charring ability and fire retardancy of starch and resulted in a 43% reduction in fire growth index compared to the blend with commercial flame retardant only, as confirmed by means of cone calorimetry. Standard UL 94 vertical tests showed that blends containing TPS exhibited dripping behavior (rated V2), while those with commercial flame retardant were rated V0. Overall, this work demonstrates the potential of starch as a natural flame retardant that could reduce the cost and increase the safety of polymer-based materials.
ISSN: 2073-4360
DOI: 10.3390/polym15204078
Rights: openAccess
Appears in Collections:I&D CEMMPRE - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais
FCTUC Eng.Química - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais

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