Tetraphenyl phosphonium-modified organoclay (TPP-Mt) was prepared by modifying montmorillonite-rich Thai bentonite via ion exchange. TGA results revealed that TPP-Mt possessed high thermal stability, where degradation occurred at a temperature range of 418-576°C. The obtained TPP-Mt/PP nanocomposites exhibited degradation at higher temperatures than PP (410-420°C vs. 403°C). Fibers of different cross-sectional shapes (circular, circular hollow, and cross) containing 1, 2 and 3%wt TPP-Mt were prepared and characterized. Nonwovens of 3%wt TPPMt/PP fibers were fabricated for flame retardant test. From results, nonwovens of TPP-Mt/PP fibers exhibited self-extinguishing characteristic and the areas of burning were less than that of PP nonwoven (14.5-31.6% vs. 95.6%). Nonwovens of cross-shaped fibers showed the best flame retardant property, followed by those of circular hollow and circular fibers. The flame retardant properties observed in nonwovens were explained due to the inter-fiber spaces between cross-shaped fibers and center hole in circular hollow fibers, which could trap initiating radicals inside, thus reducing flame propagation. In addition, large surface area in cross-shaped fibers could help in increasing the flame retardant effectiveness due to more exposure of TPP-Mt particles to the flame. Knowledge obtained in this study offered an approach to produce flame retardant nonwovens via a combination of modified organolcay and fiber shape.
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