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Opportunity at National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

New Fire Retardant Materials Using Combustion Synthesized Nanostructures


Engineering Laboratory, Fire Research Division

RO# Location
50.73.31.B6153 Gaithersburg, MD

Please note: This Agency only participates in the February and August reviews.


Name E-mail Phone
Manzello, Samuel L. samuel.manzello@nist.gov 301.975.6891


Synthetic polymers are found in all aspects of everyday life, from residential homes to modern automobiles. Unfortunately, these polymeric materials are combustible. Therefore, it is important to understand how synthetic polymers can be altered to make them less combustible. Ongoing work conducted in the Building and Fire Research Laboratory (BFRL) has clearly demonstrated that nanocomposites made by dispersing aluminosilicate clays or carbon nanotubes in polymers are less flammable than are immiscible mixtures of these components. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to achieve uniform dispersion for the majority of the nanocomposite materials containing agglomerates of clay platelets (or nanotube bundles). Recently, BFRL has completed a stirred reactor/plug flow reactor (WSR/PFR) facility that poses a potential solution to the problem of obtaining optimal dispersion of nanoparticles in polymers. The WSR/PFR reactor consists of two parts. The WSR uses premixed fuel and air, and exhibits both macroscopic and microscopic mixing during combustion, and approximates a highly turbulent combustion environment. The exhaust gases from the WSR enter the PFR section through a flow straightener. Research opportunities exist to prepare polymer nanocomposites by dispersing nanostructured materials (nanoparticles, carbon nanotubes) generated in our well WSR/PFR in commodity polymers. In addition, a transmission electron microscope is available for nanostructure characterization.


Combustion synthesis; Fire retardant polymers; Nanostructured materials;


Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Regular applicants
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