Exfoliated clay nanocomposites of flame retarded/glass fibre reinforced polyamide 6 were prepared by twin-screw extrusion compounding. A flame retardant system based on phosphorus compounds and zinc borate was used at various levels in glass fibre reinforced PA6 and nanocomposites. Thermal stability and combustion behaviours were evaluated by TGA, LOI, UL94 and cone calorimetry. Substitution of a certain fraction of the flame retardant with nanoclays was found to significantly reduce the peak heat release rate and delay ignition in the cone calorimeter. Moreover, remarkable improvements were obtained in LOI along with maintained UL94 ratings. Residue characterization by FTIR, XRD and SEM ascribed the enhanced flame retardancy of nanocomposite formulations to the formation of a glassy boron/aluminium phosphate barrier reinforced by clay layers at the nanoscale. The physically strong and consolidated barriers formed from nanocomposites were much more effective in impeding heat and mass transfer compared to those from conventional formulations. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.