Evaluations of Aluminum Tri-Hydroxide and Pristine Montmorillonite in Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymer for Vehicle Components
Keywords:Aluminum tri-hydroxide; Pristine montmorillonite; Unsaturated polyester; Flame retardancy; Mechanical properties
One of the safety requirements for the vehicle components is in terms of the flammability factor. Generally, the polymer material used for vehicle components is Unsaturated Polyester (UP). Unfortunately, this material is highly flammable. The addition of Aluminum Tri-Hydroxide (ATH) to UP is known to improve its flame retardancy, but its material strength is compromised. Moreover, the use of pristine Montmorillonite (MMT) rather than the commonly used organomodified MMT as a mixture to the ATH results in different material characteristics that could potentially minimise such a reduction of material strength. This manuscript discusses the combination of ATH and MMT in Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymer (GFRP) composites, specifically in terms of mechanical properties and flame retardancy. The increase of ATH content to UP decreases the flexural strength of GFRP, ranging from 34.3% to 63.4% lower than the neat GFRP. A slight increase of flexural strength is found in samples with ATH and MMT combinations (CA45M15), indicating that the addition of MMT does not dramatically change the flexural strength of GFRP. However, the addition of filler ATH, MMT, or a combination of both could increase the flame retardancy of GFRP. The addition of ATH leads to a slight increase of the UP initial temperature of decomposition, while the addition of MMT shows almost no notable differences. The flammability test shows that the additions of ATH, MMT or their combinations tend to decrease the rate of linear burning. Therefore, it can be concluded that the ATH and MMT could effectively improve the flame retardancy of GFRP.
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