Development of kinetic parameters for polyurethane thermal degradation modeling featuring a bioinspired catecholic flame retardant

B. C. Roberts, A. R. Jones, O. A. Ezekoye, C. J. Ellison, M. E. Webber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


A recently developed flame retardant (FR) nanocoating of polydopamine (PDA) was applied to flexible polyurethane foam (PU) and thermogravimetrically analyzed (TGA). Thermal degradation kinetics were described by a simplified multi-component, Arrhenius expression coupled with a first-order reaction model. Kinetic parameters were then extracted via an optimization solver. By limiting the number of optimized parameters, a mesh adaptive direct search algorithm was employed to extract meaningful kinetic parameters that better simulate the TGA data compared to graphical methods. Through TGA, it was shown that the effect of the PDA nanocoating on PU degradation differs between oxidative (78 vol% nitrogen (N2) and 21 vol% oxygen) and inert (100% N2) environments. In nitrogen, the mass loss is delayed and diminished in the first PU reaction, which is the opposite effect of a traditional halophosphate FR. In an oxidative environment, the first reaction of PU is greatly delayed by the PDA coating, but once the reaction begins, it becomes accelerated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)184-192
Number of pages9
JournalCombustion and Flame
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The work presented in this paper was supported in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program. We also gratefully acknowledge the Robert A. Welch Foundation (Grant no. F-1709), DuPont Young Professor Award, the Norman Hackerman Advanced Research Program (Grant no. ARP-003658-0037-2011), and the National Science Foundation CAREER Award (Grant no. DMR-1053293) for partial financial support.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Combustion Institute


  • Flame retardant
  • Flexible polyurethane foam
  • Kinetic parameters
  • Polydopamine
  • Thermal degradation
  • Thermogravimetric analysis


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