Polymer NanoComposites for Fire Protection

Photo of Will, Jeff, Henry Students: Will, Jeff, Henry

Sponsor: The University of Texas at Austin

Date: Spring 2010

The main requirements of this project are that the apparatus account for patial and geometric effects so that the sample reacts as it would in application as well as verify the temperature during heating. A method is needed to keep the samples in place during heating while withstanding high heats. The method be repeatable and the chosen tests must be effective evaluators of the material. The main constraints were determined by the evaluation tests and were set by machine specifications or ASTM standards.

The purpose of this project is to develop an apparatus that includes thermal sensor design/selection and analysis methods to test and evaluate the performance of several groups of carbon fiber-reinforced polymer matrix composites.

The apparatus used was a metal stand with a metal frame to which the samples were clamped. Thermocouples were fed through the back of the frame to measure backside temperature and a pyrometer was used to measure the front. The tests performed were thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), cone calorimetry, four-point-bend testing, and scanning electron microscopy. TGA was found to be a useful pre-screener for the material as it is inexpensive and easy to perform. All three of the materials tested each had their own strengths, but overall the nanoclay outperformed the carbon epoxy and nanographene samples

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