Fire performance of composites

Lead academic: Dr G Ren

Supporting Academic: Prof P J Hogg (University of Manchester) and Dr A Chrysanthou

Period: August 2005 – May 2010

Funding: EPSRC and TSB: £100K

Collaborators: BRE, Menzolit and Interscience

Fibre reinforced polymeric and ceramic composites are now used in many application areas where the fire performance is of critical importance. Transport applications such as interior panels for passenger aircraft, trains, buses and ships are subject to severe regulatory requirements with specified factors such as heat release, smoke emission, flame spreading and fire resistance, etc.

The work involves use of:

  • A small scaled furnace to measure the fire barrier capabilities of the panels exposed to fire (max temp 1000°C).
  • A Cone Calorimeter to measure heat release, rates of release of noxious smoke and gases and mass loss, etc. (heat flux up to the maximum of 100 kWm-2).

Image above right: Different grades of fire retardant glass fibre reinforced ceramic composites were tested under the Heat Release Rates. The tests were under the Heat Flux of 75 kW/m2, tested by Cone Calorimeter. The picture is a polymer composite specimen under fire subjected to a Heat Flux of 75 kWm-2.