Effects of impregnation with styrene and nano-zinc oxide on fire-retarding, physical, and mechanical properties of poplar wood

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Siroos Habibzade
Hamid R. Taghiyar
Asghar Omidvar
Hamid R. Roudi


Nanoparticles have been vastly applied in wood polymer composites (WPCs) in the recent years to improve some of the drawbacks of solid wood species. In the present study, the effects of ZnO nanoparticles on fire retarding, physical, and mechanical properties of polymerized poplar wood were investigated. Poplar specimens were impregnated with styrene monomer, containing four different contents of nano-zinc oxide (ZnO) (0, 0.5, 1 and 1.5%, based on the dry weight of monomer). Results of the scanning electron microscopy (SEM) showed homogeneous dispersion of ZnO nanoparticles in the WPC matrix. Nano-zinc oxide improved physical properties such as dimensional stability and water absorption. Moreover, mechanical properties increased in comparison to the control specimens. The impregnation process also significantly improved some of the fire-retarding properties, including the ignition time; however, the flammability nature of styrene aggravated some others, such as carbonized area. It was concluded that, although most of the properties were improved, the final application of WPC should be taken in to consideration before making decision on whether or not to impregnate populus wood with styrene.

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