Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Chemistry



First Advisor

W. Parker


The thermal decomposition products of cellulose treated with various organo-phoephorous compounds were investigated.

The function of a flame-retardant in cellulose is to i. favor the production of carbon and water rather than flammable tarry products which are formed in the thermal degradation of untreated cellulose. Furthermore, if the oxidation of the charred residue is directed toward the production of carbon monoxide rather than carbon dioxide, it is believed that the heat produced in this reaction would not be sufficient to sustain an afterglow when the flame has been removed.

A comparison was made between the amounts of char and tar produced and the efficiency of the retardants used. A correlation between the carbon monoxide-carbon dioxide ratio and the afterglow exhibited by treated cotton was made.

The results obtained support the theory that flame resistant cellulose produces less flammable tars and more carbon monoxide than untreated cellulose. However, no significant differentiation as to the relative effectiveness of the various compounds investigated was possible.

It is suggested that further studies be completed on the various types of compounds exhibiting fire-retardancy to provide a more general theory of fire-resistant cellulose.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.