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Modified and unmodified technical lignins as flame retardants for polypropylene
Holzforschung  (IF2.393),  Pub Date : 2021-06-01, DOI: 10.1515/hf-2020-0147
Petri Widsten, Tarja Tamminen, Antti Paajanen, Tuula Hakkarainen, Tiina Liitiä

Polyolefins used in building materials and furniture require the use of flame-retardant (FR) additives to improve their fire safety. Such additives should be safe to humans and the environment, and preferably bio-based. In the present work, the FR performance of unmodified and chemically modified technical lignins was compared to that of the ammonium polyphosphate/pentaerythritol (APP/PER) intumescent system in a polypropylene (PP) matrix. Micro-scale combustion calorimetry (MCC) was used to study the peak heat release rate (PHR), temperature at PHR (T PHR ), total heat release (THR) and char yield upon thermal decomposition of milligram-scale specimens. The PP/lignin composites showed up to 41% lower PHR and up to 36% lower THR compared to pure PP as well as large char residues. Based on the same parameters, especially the PP/lignin composites made with modified lignins outperformed the reference PP/APP/PER system and the PP/APP/lignin composites where unmodified lignin was used with APP. The most promising PP/lignin composites were prepared with partially demethylated/demethoxylated and depolymerised kraft lignin (‘CatLignin’), modified by the Mannich reaction to a nitrogen content of 13.5%.