Polypropylene (PP) is a general-purpose plastic, but some applications are constrained by its high flammability. Thus, flame retardant PP is urgently demanded. In this article, intumescent flame retardant PP (IFRPP) composites with enhanced fire safety were prepared using 1-oxo-4-hydroxymethyl-2,6,7-trioxa-1-phosphabicyclo [2.2.2] octane (PEPA) functionalized graphene oxide (PGO) as synergist. The PGO was prepared through a mild chemical reaction by the covalent attachment of a caged-structure organic compound, PEPA, onto GO nanosheets using toluene diisocynate (TDI) as the intermediary agent. The novel PEPA-functionalized graphene oxide not only improves the heat resistance of GO but also converts GO and PEPA from hydrophobic to hydrophilic materials, which leads to even distribution in PP. In our case, 7 wt% addition of PGO as one of the fillers for IFRPP composites significantly reduces its inflammability and fire hazards when compared with PEPA, by the improvement of first release rate peak (PHRR), total heat release, first smoke release rate peak (PSRR) and total smoke release, suggesting its great potential as the IFR synergist in industry. The reason is mainly attributed to the barrier effect of the unburned graphene sheets, which protects by the decomposition products of PEPA and TDI, promotes the formation of graphitized carbon and inhibits the heat and gas release.
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