A discussion of Polymeric Materials for Fire-Safe Applications: Enhanced Reliability, Fire and Damage Tolerance

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Authors
  1. Underhill, R.S.
  2. Hiltz, J.
  3. Moyst, H.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Atlantic, Dartmouth NS (CAN);Advanced Industrial and Mechanical (AIM) Engineering, Dartmouth NS (CAN)
Abstract
Fire fighting is one of the most labour intensive operations aboard ship, and poses a significant threat to crew. The incorporation of fire-safe materials can reduce the threat by decreasing the likelihood of ignition or slowing the spread, should a fire start. The right choice of materials can result in smaller fires, requiring fewer crew to be at risk while fire fighting. This paper reviews shipboard fires on both commercial and non-commercial vessels. It discusses the mechanism for fire and how organic materials such as polymers undergo combustion, with emphasis placed on the typical polymeric fire loads on board: cable insulation/sheathing and textiles/furnishings. This review concludes with a survey of current efforts in fire/flame retardant materials. The recommended areas for future research include investigations into the mechanism of char formation, examination of nanocomposite materials based on nanometal hydroxides, exfoliated nanoclays and nanosized versions of traditional fire retardant additives, understanding polymer degradation mechanisms, and achieving a balance between mechanical properties, fire retardant properties and smoke inhibiting properties. The goal of this review is to provide background on what is currently known about the fire properties of polymeric materials used in marine applications and to provide some insight as to what future research is relevant in a naval context.

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Report Number
DRDC-ATLANTIC-TM-2007-051 — Technical Memorandum
Date of publication
01 Aug 2007
Number of Pages
54
DSTKIM No
CA030428
CANDIS No
528988
Format(s):
CD ROM

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