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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2010, Article ID 583234, 11 pages
Research Article

Thermoplastic Polyurethane Elastomer Nanocomposites: Morphology, Thermophysical, and Flammability Properties

Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712-0292, USA

Received 4 May 2009; Revised 13 January 2010; Accepted 11 February 2010

Academic Editor: Xiaogong Wang

Copyright © 2010 Wai K. Ho et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Novel materials based on nanotechnology creating nontraditional ablators are rapidly changing the technology base for thermal protection systems. Formulations with the addition of nanoclays and carbon nanofibers in a neat thermoplastic polyurethane elastomer (TPU) were melt-compounded using twin-screw extrusion. The TPU nanocomposites (TPUNs) are proposed to replace Kevlar-filled ethylene-propylene-diene-monomer rubber, the current state-of-the-art solid rocket motor internal insulation. Scanning electron microscopy analysis was conducted to study the char characteristics of the TPUNs at elevated temperatures. Specimens were examined to analyze the morphological microstructure during the pyrolysis reaction and in fully charred states. Thermophysical properties of density, specific heat capacity, thermal diffusivity, and thermal conductivity of the different TPUN compositions were determined. To identify dual usage of these novel materials, cone calorimetry was employed to study the flammability properties of these TPUNs.