Fibre-reinforced composites are finding increased usage in load-bearing structures in a variety of applications in marine, automotive and rail transport industries owing to their specific strength and stiffness properties. A serious problem with these composite materials, particularly glass-reinforced polymeric composites, which are the most prevalent in marine and other surface transport applications, is that they support combustion and in fire conditions burn, most often with heavy soot and smoke. Insulation can reduce the fire hazard, but does not eliminate it. Moreover the insulation adds weight and is costly to apply.The combustible part of the composite is the organic resin matrix. Most common method of fire retarding the resin and hence, the overall composite is the physical and chemical modification of the resin by either adding fire retardant elements in the polymer backbone or using fire retardant additives in the resin. For polyester or vinyl ester resins, usually halogenated chemicals are used. It is proposed that two different approaches will be taken: the first one 'Material' based, mainly by Bolton, and the other 'Structure' based, to which both Bolton and Southampton will contribute. The specific tasks include resin blending, chemical / physical modification of the resin, process modelling and resin infusion, composite laminate preparation and flammability evaluation. The composite laminates and structures thus produced are expected to comply with the fire performance requirements contained in the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) as `IMO/HSC Code (Code of Safety for High Speed craft of the International Maritime Organisation). Additionally, the structural performance of the composite would be expected to be comparable with current glass/vinyl ester. Process-ability is an important factor and the use of the modified resin systems in resin infusion will be assessed.
A cure modelling study of an unsaturated polyester resin system for the simulation of curing of fibre-reinforced composites during the vacuum infusion process
& R.A. Shenoi, 2015 , Journal of Composite Materials , 49 (20) , 2529--2540
Cure and strain monitoring of novel unsaturated polyester/phenolic resin blends in the vacuum infusion process using fibre Bragg gratings
& R.A. Shenoi, 2015 , Journal of Composite Materials