Intumescent Flame Retardant Polyamide 11 Nanocomposites
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Current polyamide 11 and 12 are lacking in fire retardancy and high strength/high heat resistance characteristics for a plethora of fabricated parts that are desired and required for performance driven applications. The introduction of selected nanoparticles such as surface modified montmorillonite (MMT) clay or carbon nanofibers (CNFs), combined with a conventional intumescent flame retardant (FR) additive into the polyamide 11/polyamide 12 (PA11/PA12) by melt processing conditions has resulted in the preparation of a family of intumescent polyamide nanocomposites. These intumescent polyamide 11 and 12 nanocomposites exhibit enhanced polymer performance characteristics, i.e., fire retardancy, high strength and high heat resistance and are expected to expand the market opportunities for polyamide 11 and polyamide 12 polymer manufacturers. The objective of this research is to develop improved polyamide 11 and 12 polymers with enhanced flame retardancy, thermal, and mechanical properties for selective laser sintering (SLS) rapid manufacturing (RM). In the present study, a nanophase was introduced into the polyamide 11 and combining it with a conventional intumescent FR additive via twin screw extrusion. Arkema RILSAN® polyamide 11 molding polymer pellets were examined with two types of nanoparticles: chemically modified montmorillonite (MMT) organoclays, and carbon nanofibers (CNFs); and Clairant’s Exolit® OP 1230 intumescent FR additive were used to create a family of FR intumescent polyamide 11 nanocomposites. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was used to determine the degree of nanoparticles dispersion. Injection molded specimens were fabricated for physical, thermal, and flammability measurements. Thermal stability of these intumescent polyamide 11 nanocomposites was examined by TGA. Flammability properties were obtained using the Cone Calorimeter at an external heat flux of 35 kW/m 2 and UL 94 Test Method. Heat deflection temperatures (HDT) were also measured. TEM micrographs, physical, thermal, and flammability properties are presented. FR intumescent polyamide 11 nanocomposites properties are compared with polyamide 11 baseline polymer. Based on flammability and mechanical material performance, selective polymers including polyamide 11 nanocomposites and control polyamide 11 will be cryogenically ground into fine powders for SLS RM processing. SLS specimens will be fabricated for thermal, flammability, and mechanical properties characterization.