Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Materials Science and Engineering


Dr. Philip J. Brown

Committee Member

Dr. Christine W. Cole

Committee Member

Dr. Gary C. Lickfield

Committee Member

Dr. Igor Luzinov


Polyester fibers are widely used as filling in home applications such as pillows or comforters. Silicone finishes can be used to reduce friction between fibers during processing or as softeners to impart a pleasant down like hand on the fibers. However, it has been reported that these added silicone-based finishes may have a negative effect on the burning behavior of polyester. This research examined the possible mechanisms that can modify the response of polyester fibers when subjected to a flame source. In this study, a spunbond needled polyester nonwoven substrate was treated with different commercial silicone-based finishes. A vertical flame test was used to compare the effect of silicone finishes on the burning behavior of polyester to the inherent burning behavior of untreated polyester. Thermogravimetric analyses (TGA) were performed on spunbond polyester fabric samples to investigate the influence of silicone finishes on the thermal degradation of polyester in air. Residues from TGA were examined using Scanning Electron Microscopy coupled with elemental analysis. Vertical flammability testing showed that even at a low level, the application of silicone-based finishes on a polyester substrate resulted in a dramatic increase of the flame propagation by preventing its inherent response to heat. Thermograms suggested that the silicone finishes had little or no effect on the thermal degradation of polyester substrates.