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Nano-modified fire-retarded polyester resins for composites

News International-French

9 Mar 2012

JEC Europe 2012 - Although some progress has been made with regard to the fire-retardancy of composite materials, there is still much room for improvement. Conventional halogenated fire-retardant additives release gases on combustion which are toxic and corrosive, whilst high-load fillers such as alumina trihydrate tend to reduce processability and impact strength. NetComposites is currently coordinating two collaborative projects which aim to overcome such limitations.

The two collaborative projects are following:


POLYFIRE is an EU Framework 7 project whose aim is to develop and industrialise fire retardant, nano-filled unsaturated polyester resins. Techniques for the production and dispersion of bespoke organomodifed nano-clay additives have been developed. These are currently being up-scaled and will be used to produce fibre-reinforced composites and coatings for evaluation using a wide range of mechanical, physical and fire tests. Furthermore, the technology will be demonstrated by producing three case study components from the construction, rail and marine sectors. Comprehensive health, environmental and economic impact assessments are being conducted in parallel with the technical activities to ensure that the materials and processes developed are sustainable.

FRBioComp is a recently launched UK Technology Strategy Board project whose aim is to develop fire-retardant, environmentally sustainable composites using natural fibres and biopolymers. Novel synergistic combinations of the following will be developed to form these new biocomposites:

-Inherently fire retardant natural fibres

-High strength natural fibres treated with fire retardants

-Biopolymers incorporating synergistic mixtures of non-halogenated fire retardants and layered-silicate nanoclays.

The modified biopolymer fibres and natural fibres will be comingled and used to produce highly aligned woven fabrics suitable for high performance composites. The composites produced will have reduced weight and production costs compared to current structures and will produce minimal smoke and toxic products on burning. They are expected to meet the fire performance requirements for construction, mass transport and other sectors (automotive, electronics etc.).


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