, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 2755–2765 | Cite as

Coatings made of proteins adsorbed on TiO2 nanoparticles: a new flame retardant approach for cotton fabrics

  • Simona Ortelli
  • Giulio Malucelli
  • Fabio Cuttica
  • Magda Blosi
  • Ilaria Zanoni
  • Anna Luisa Costa
Original Paper


A novel durable intumescent flame retardant coating, based on metal oxide nanoparticles (NPs) and biomacromolecules, was designed and applied on cotton fabrics. Specifically, different TiO2 NPs/proteins systems were deposited by dip-pad-dry-cure process and the morphology of the resulting coating were assessed by SEM analysis. Enhancement of durability (i.e. resistance to washing treatments) was verified by release tests carried out in static and dynamic conditions. Flammability and cone calorimetry tests were performed for evaluating the fire behavior of the treated fabrics. More specifically, in horizontal flame spread tests, the different nanoparticle/protein based coatings provided an increase of the total burning time and a decrease of the burning rate. Furthermore, the residues at the end of the test were significantly higher with respect to untreated cotton fabric. In particular, casein-based systems seemed to be more effective as compared to the whey proteins counterparts. Cone calorimetry tests showed better fire performances for the coatings based on TiO2/caseins with respect to TiO2/whey proteins, which did not seem to be so effective in protecting the underlying fabric from the heat flux. Therefore, due to their high char-forming character, casein-based coatings may represent an effective and durable fire-resistant finishing alternative to standard flame retardant treatments for cotton.


Nanoparticles Biomacromolecules Flame retardancy Cotton fabric 



The authors thank the European COST Action FLARETEX (MP1105) “Sustainable flame retardancy for textile and related materials based on nanoparticles substituting conventional chemicals”.

Supplementary material

10570_2018_1745_MOESM1_ESM.docx (94 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 95 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ISTEC-CNR, Institute of Science and Technology for Ceramics-National Research Council of ItalyFaenzaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Applied Science and Technology, and Local INSTM UnitPolitecnico di TorinoAlessandriaItaly

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