NASA is now concerned with maintaining, validating, and improving fire safety on the ISS throughout its lifetime while providing maximum flexibility in the types of experiments and operations that can be conducted by the crew members. Thus, more comfortable, durable and flexible flame retardant crew clothing is required, especially during long term missions. Current cotton clothing is highly flammable and not suitable for fire fighting. There is urgent need to develop non-flammable alternatives for shirts, shorts, sweaters, and jackets without compromising the comfort and flexibility. This Phase I project aims to develop flame retardant textiles using a new class of chemicals called polyoxometalates (POMs). We have devised methods to anchor this class of compound to a variety of conventional (cotton based) fabrics. The overall goal is to take existing fabrics, with their desirable physical properties and high level of comfort, and add a flame retardant capability. The functionalized textile material will have thermal stability, reduction in smoke generation and flammability, reasonable cost, no skin and environmental toxicity, and permanence while retaining the desired properties of the starting material. Our novel flame resistant textile material will withstand harsh conditions without leaching of the agents.
Potential NASA Commercial Applications: At home : Clothes, Sleepwear, bed linen, blankets, mattresses, upholstered furniture covers, furniture fabrics, carpets, textile wall lining, curtains At work: Protective clothes for workers, military personnel and firemen, agricultural workers, technical fabrics such as belts and ropes, sunshades, sunblinds, tarpaulins Others: Tents (military or private), flags