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Impact of Carbon Nanofiber Layer-By-Layer Coatings on Polyurethane Foam Flammability



Rick D. Davis, Yeon S. Kim


This is the first reported use of Layer-by-Layer (LBL) assembly to fabricate thin film coatings on polyurethane foam, of incorporating carbon nanofibers (CNF) into LBL fabricated coatings, and of using LBL fabricated coatings to reduce the flammability of polyurethane foam. The (359.1 ± 36.0) nm thick four bilayer coating of polyetherimide/CNF (cationic layer) and polyacrylic acid (anionic layer) contained (50.9 ± 0.1) mass fraction % CNF. This CNF coating covered the entire internal and external surfaces of the porous foam. The distribution of the CNFs was non-uniform on the microscale with regions of large CNF aggregation to regions with individual CNFs and isolated regions that appeared to contain no CNFs. Even though the microscopic CNF distribution was non-uniform, the macroscopic CNF network armor that was generated from this LBL process significantly reduced the flammability of the foam; i.e., 69% ± 3% reduction in total heat released and peak heat released rate.
Technical Note (NIST TN) - 1674
Report Number


Layer-By-Layer assembly, thin films, carbon nanofibers, polyurethane foam, Cone Calorimetry, flammability, soft furnishings


Davis, R. and Kim, Y. (2010), Impact of Carbon Nanofiber Layer-By-Layer Coatings on Polyurethane Foam Flammability, Technical Note (NIST TN), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed April 18, 2024)
Created September 2, 2010, Updated November 10, 2018