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A bio-flame retardant filler was synthesized via the self-polymerization of dopamine hydrochloride in alkaline condition, yielding nano-sized polydopamine (nano-PDA) particles ranging between 50 and 100 nm in diameters. Adding a small amount (2 wt%) of the nano-PDA particles into an epoxy can remarkably reduce the value of peak heat release rate by 53.6%, exceeding the performance aluminum trihydroxide (ATH) particles at 10 wt%. The significant improvement in flame retardancy at a relatively low loading of PDA has been found to originate from several key mechanisms including radical scavenging, higher char yield, and production of CO2. Furthermore, the addition of nano-PDA in the epoxy resin increased the tensile strength by ~6%. In contrast, the addition of common flame retardant, such as ATH, to achieve the same increase in flame retardancy of epoxy would reduce the tensile strength by 22%. This improvement in mechanical properties is attributed to the better bonding between PDA particles with epoxy than ATH with epoxy.
- Mechanical properties
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