Environmental Benign Ion Beam-Based Flame Retardant Treatment
Small Business Information
One Patriots Park, Bedford, MA, 01730
AbstractA fire fighter's ability to effectively combat fire is strongly dependant on the degree to which his clothing limits exposure to heat and flame. Available heat- and flame-retardant garments significantly increase exposure, but use environmentally hazardous additives; additionally, further enhancements in flame-retardation are deisred. Recent research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and elsewhere has demonstrated that ion beam treatment ofpolymers produces a heavily-cross-linked surface layer. Treated surfaces are extremely resistant to chemical attack and form an impermeable barrier to evolution of volatile chemical groups from the material. Additionally, recent developments in ion-beam-based coating technology now permit adherent metal coatings on fabrics. The synergistic effects of ion bombardment and a metallic coating, which can be performed simultaneously in the same treatment system, would provide enhanced heat- and flame-retardant garments for fire fighters. The metallic coating would reflect thermal energy, keeping the fabric cooler, and the ion beam bombardment would prevent evolution of volatile chemical moieties that contribute to the combustion process. These treatments can be performed at low cost, do not produce environmentally hazardous effluents, and do not add weight or affect garment functionality, flexibility, or durability. The proposed research would establish effectiveness of the surface treatments in tests of flame retardation.
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