Date of Award

5-2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Polymer Engineering

Major Professor

Gajanan S. Bhat

Committee Members

Roberto Benson, Kevin Kit

Abstract

Cotton based highloft nonwovens have been used in consumer goods such as pillows, upholstered furniture and mattresses for years. Cotton provides comfort, soft hand and cost effectiveness to these products. In contrast to its desirable properties, cotton products have a higher proneness to burning and are characterized as highly flammable materials. During the last decade, the fire safety has been an important issue, and there has been increasing focus on approaches to reduce hazardous fire risks and effects. Incorporating flame resistant (FR) chemicals and fibers is one of the most effective methods to improve thermal resistance of cotton to ignition, and provide high degree of flame retardancy performance in the final product. The major aim of using flame retardants is to provide more time for people to escape from fire and reduce death and injuries. Most of the approaches to produce FR cotton based nonwovens are for applications where durability is not important. For some of the applications wash durability is desired and needed. The focus of this research was to develop semi-durable and durable FR treatments for cotton rich nonwovens in an economical way using a binder fiber, going through-air bonding process and treating them with commercially available FR chemicals in the presence of a chemical binder. These FR treated webs have been evaluated for their FR performance before and after washing. Selected FR chemicals and binder types have effect on the wash durability of the produced webs. Selection of appropriate chemicals and binders in the right combination is important so that desired degree of flame resistancy can be achieved. A neural network model was used to understand these effects, so it can help in selecting the best combination for optimum FR performance and reveal the unknown behavior of FR characteristics. Also, importance of FR chemical type, chemical binder type, chemical add on level and binder percentage based on flammability results was revealed through a statistical analysis.

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