Epoxy Composites: Impact Resistance and Flame Retardancy

Rapra Review Report, Vol. 16, No. 5, Report 185, 2007

By Dr Debdatta Ratna

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A composite is defined as a combination of two or more materials with a distinguishable interface. The urge to improve the properties of composite materials, has prompted materials scientists to investigate composites with lower and lower reinforcement size, leading to the development of microcomposites and the recent trend in composite research is nanocomposites (with nanometer scale reinforcements). Polymer matrix composite (PMC) can be processed at a much lower temperature, compared to composites with other types of matrix. Depending on the types of polymer matrices, PMC are classified as thermosetting composites and thermoplastic composites. In this present review, thermosetting composites with epoxy matrices will be discussed in detail.

Over the last three decades, the use of PMC, has increased tremendously and this dramatic growth is expected to continue in the future. The composites possess many useful properties such as high specific stiffness and strength, dimensional stability, adequate electrical properties and excellent corrosion resistance. The implications are easy transportability, high payload for vehicle, low stress for rotating parts, high ranges for rockets and missiles, which make them attractive for both the civil and defense applications. The composite industry is currently dominated by thermosetting resins namely epoxy, vinyl ester, unsaturated polyester, phenolic, polyimides, cyanate ester etc. This is because of their availability, relative ease of processing, lower cost of capital equipment for processing and low material cost.

Topics covered include:

  • Thermosetting Composites
  • Epoxy Resins
  • Impact Resistant Epoxy Composites
  • Modification of Epoxy Matrix
  • Nanoreinforcement of Epoxy
  • Simultaneous Nanoreinforcement and Toughening
  • Fire Retardant Epoxy Composites
  • Fire Retardant Resin Composition

    This review will be of interest to anyone who manufactures or plans to use epoxy composites.

    This detailed and state-of-the-art review is supported by an indexed section containing approximately 300 key references and abstracts selected from the Polymer Library.

    About the author
    Dr Debdatta Ratna has been working as a scientist in Naval Materials Research Laboratory, Ambernath, India, for last 14 years. He did his MSc in Chemistry, MTech in Materials Science and Engineering and PhD in Polymer Science at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. He was a visiting scientist to Monash University, Australia on a BOYSCAST fellowship in 2000, sponsored by DST, India. He has been awarded the Alexander von Humboldt fellowship in 2006 to carry out research work in Germany. He has visited several Universities in Australia, United States of America and Germany and delivered many lectures. His areas of interest are toughening of thermosetting resins, composites, nanocomposites, adhesives, vibration damping materials, nonlinear optical polymers, and shape memory polymers. He has worked extensively on chemical modification of epoxy resin for the development of high performance fibre-reinforced composites and shock-resistant adhesives. He has published more than 50 papers in reputed international journals and is a referee for several international journals.


    1. Introduction

    2. Thermosetting Composites

3. Epoxy Resins
3.1 Chemorheology and Curing of Epoxy

  • 4. Epoxy Composites
    4.1 Fracture Testing
    4.2 Fracture Mechanism

    5. Impact Resistant Epoxy Composites
    6.1 Flexibilisation of Epoxy
    6.2 Toughening of Epoxy
    6.3 Liquid Rubber Toughening
    6.3.1 Reaction-induced Phase Separation
    6.3.2 Mechanism of Toughening
    6.3.3 Morphological Parameters
    6.3.4 Recent Advances
    6.4 Toughening by Preformed Particle
    6.5 Thermoplastic Toughening
    6.6 Rigid Particle Toughening

    6. Modification of Epoxy Matrix

    7. Nanoreinforcement of Epoxy
    7.1 Clay Reinforced Epoxy
    7.2 CNT-Reinforced Epoxy

    8. Simultaneous Nanoreinforcement and Toughening
    9.1 Flammability and Smoke Tests
    9.1.1 UL-94 Flammability Test
    9.1.2 Cone Calorimetry
    9.1.3 LOI Test

    9. Fire Retardant Epoxy Composites

    10. Fire Retardant Resin Compositions
    10.1 Halogenated Flame Retardants
    10.2 Phosphorus Containing Flame Retardants
    10.3 Nanoclay-Based Flame Retardants
    10.4 Combination of Organoclay and Other Flame Retardants
    10.5 Intumescent Fire Retardants

    11. Summary and Outlook
    Subject Index
    Company Index

    12. List of Abbreviation and Acronyms

    13. Additional References

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