Study on the flammability, thermal stability and diffusivity of polyethylene nanocomposites containing few layered tungsten disulfide (WS2) functionalized with metal oxides
In this work, exfoliated tungsten disulfide (WS2) functionalized with metal oxides as a filler of polyethylene (PE) was used. An efficient exfoliation procedure resulted in the synthesis of 7–9 layered flakes of WS2. Flakes of exfoliated WS2 were functionalized by iron oxide and nickel oxide nanoparticles, respectively. The nanomaterials were mixed with polyethylene by extrusion. Methods such as Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) or Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA) were used to characterize the materials. Flame retardant properties were investigated by microcalorimetry. Comparing the obtained values of heat released during combustion, it can be observed that the addition of fillers reduces flammability significantly compared to neat polyethylene. It is revealed that this composite can provide a certain physical barrier and inhibit the diffusion of heat and gaseous products during combustion. Thermogravimetric analysis of composites showed increased thermal stability with addition of nanofillers and reduction of carbon monoxide generation in the whole range of the nanofiller addition (from 0.5 to 2 wt% in PE). Results suggested that the composite with Ni2O3 could endow the best flame retardance for PE. The peak heat release rate of this sample with 2 wt% nanofiller was reduced to 792 W g−1 (1216 W g−1 for PE), and the total heat release was decreased to 39 kJ g−1 (47 kJ g−1 for PE). A very significant increase in thermal conductivity for all composites was observed as well.