Flame retardant phosphorus-containing polymers
The ubiquity of polymeric materials in daily life comes at an increased risk of fire, and the enduring research into efficient flame retardants is the key to ensuring the safety of the populace and material goods from the dangers of accidental fires. Phosphorus, a versatile and effective element for use in flame retardants, has the potential to supersede halogenated variants still widely used today: current formulations employ a variety of modes of action and methods of implementation, as additives or as reactants, to solve the task of flame retarding polymeric materials. Phosphorus flame retardants can act both in the gas or the condensed phase during a fire.
In our group, we develop novel phosphorus chemistry that helps in reducing the flammability of polymers and address the future of sustainable, efficient and safe phosphorus-based flame retardant chemistry from renewable sources.
Especially hyperbranched poly(phosphoester)s are interesting candidates as efficient and halogen-free flame retardants, due to their efficient mixing with the polymer matrix. In several current projects, we develop novel polymers and nanocarriers for flame retardant applications, e.g. in epoxy resins or for composite materials. In this interdisciplinary field, we collaborate strongly with the Bundesanstalt für Materialprüfung und –forschung (BAM) in Berlin, Germany.
NOFLAME: Flame-retardant nanocontainers
Recently, the European Commission awarded a prestigious Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship to Dr. Maria M. Velencoso, working in the "Functional Polymers" group. The research project Flame Retardant Nanocontainers (NOFLAME - 705054) has proposed a unique and competitive program for the development of polymeric flame retardant nanocontainers with high thermal stability, low flammability and good compatibility with polymeric matrices. The nanocontainers have been synthesized in our laboratory during this fellowship with the goal to open an alternative to help solve the problems of poor dispersion and low interfacial adhesion of the inorganic and hybrid nanomaterials applied for flame retardant applications so far. Furthermore, the ability to encapsulate a wide range of substances makes the nanocontainers highly attractive to develop multifunctional nanomaterials in future applications. In this interdisciplinary field, we collaborate strongly with the Bundesanstalt für Materialprüfung und –forschung (BAM) in Berlin, Germany.