Mechanical properties, fire performance and thermal stability of magnesium hydroxide sulfate hydrate whiskers flame retardant silicone rubber
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Halogen-free flame retardant silicone rubber (SR) composites, using magnesium hydroxide sulfate hydrate (MHSH) whiskers as flame retardant have been prepared by a two-roll mill. Moreover, microencapsulated red phosphorus (MRP) was used as a synergist. Mechanical tests were performed to determine the tensile strength, elongation at break, and shore hardness of the composites. The morphology of fracture surface was observed by environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM). The results showed MHSH slightly reduced the tensile strength of the composites, but had obvious influence on the elongation at break. Meanwhile, Shore A hardness presented uptrend with increasing MHSH content. The addition of vinyl silicone fluid (VSF) could improve the compatibility of the MHSH whiskers in SR matrix, and therefore improved the mechanical properties of composites. The flammability properties of composites were investigated by limited oxygen index (LOI), UL-94 tests, and cone calorimetry experiments. It is found that MHSH whiskers can effectively improve the flame retardancy of SR composites due to the endothermic degradation of MHSH whiskers accompanied with the release of water vapor, and the formation of fibrous magnesia acting as a barrier layer. The incorporation of MRP in SR/MHSH whiskers system had a synergic fire retardant effect in the condensed and gas phase. In addition, thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) indicated the presence of MRP enhanced thermal stability of the SR/MHSH composites at higher temperature range, and remarkably promoted char residue yield.
KeywordsFlame Retardant Silicone Rubber Cone Calorimeter Limited Oxygen Index Flammability Property
The work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No.50403014 and No.50476026), Specialized Research Fund for the Doctoral Program of Higher Education (No.20040358056), Program for New Century Excellent Talents in University, and National 11th 5-year Program (No. 2006BAK01B03, 2006BAK06B06, and 2006BAK06B07).