FRBioComp project

The overall aim of the project is to develop fire-retardant, environmentally sustainable composites using natural fibres and biopolymers. Novel synergistic combinations of the following will be developed and brought together to form these new biocomposites: (1) Inherently fire retardant natural fibres (which typically have poor mechanical performance); (2) High strength natural fibres treated with fire retardants; and (3) Biopolymers incorporating synergistic mixtures of non-halogenated FR’s and layered-silicate nanoclays.

The modified biopolymer fibres and natural fibres will be comingled (intimately mixed) and used to produce zero-twist yarns and highly aligned woven fabrics suitable for high performance composites. The fabrics will be treated with phosphorus and/or nitrogen-based flame retardants (previously identified to be effective on natural fibres, as described in State of the Art). These semi-finished materials will then be moulded into composite parts by applying heat and pressure to melt and flow the polymer. Processes will include vacuum bagging, compression moulding and pultrusion. The composite laminates produced will have reduced weight and production cost compared to current structures and will produce minimum smoke and toxic products on burning. They are expected to meet the fire performance requirements for construction (interiors, architectural parts), mass transport (interior panels and trim) and other sectors (automotive, electronics etc.)

The FRBioComp project will produce high performance, fire-retardant, environmentally sustainable composite materials, by developing and subsequently combining the following three components: (1) Inherently fire retardant natural fibres; (2) Natural fibres treated with fire retardants; and (3) Biopolymers incorporating synergistic fire retardants (primarily mixtures of non-halogenated fire retardants and layered-silicate nanoclays). These biocomposites will have reduced weight, production cost and environmental impact compared to current structures and will produce minimum smoke and toxic products on burning. The natural fibres and biopolymer fibres will be commingled and incorporated into highly aligned, twistless yarns and fabrics with high mechanical reinforcement potential and processability. The materials will be processed into composite parts and profiles and subjected to a battery of mechanical and fire tests, leading to the design, development and evaluation of several application specific case study parts. The economic, social and environmental impacts of the materials will be assessed. The materials developed will comply with the fire performance requirements for a range of applications, in particular in construction (interior/exterior cladding, furniture) and transportation (interior panels, seats), and other sectors including automotive, electronics/consumer goods and aerospace. For more information: click here
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