Self-Extinguishing Resin Transfer Molding Composites Using Non-Fire-Retardant Epoxy Resin
Geng, Z.; Yang, S.; Zhang, L.; Huang, Z.; Pan, Q.; Li, J.; Weng, J.; Bao, J.; You, Z.; He, Y.; Zhu, B.
Introducing fire-retardant additives or building blocks into resins is a widely adopted method used for improving the fire retardancy of epoxy composites. However, the increase in viscosity and the presence of insoluble additives accompanied by resin modification remain challenges for resin transfer molding (RTM) processing. We developed a robust approach for fabricating self-extinguishing RTM composites using unmodified and flammable resins. To avoid the effects on resin fluidity and processing, we loaded the flame retardant into tackifiers instead of resins. We found that the halogen-free flame retardant, a microencapsulated red phosphorus (MRP) additive, was enriched on fabric surfaces, which endowed the composites with excellent fire retardancy. The composites showed a 79.2% increase in the limiting oxygen index, a 29.2% reduction in heat release during combustion, and could self-extinguish within two seconds after ignition. Almost no effect on the mechanical properties was observed. This approach is simple, inexpensive, and basically applicable to all resins for fabricating RTM composites. This approach adapts insoluble flame retardants to RTM processing. We envision that this approach could be extended to load other functions (radar absorbing, conductivity, etc.) into RTM composites, broadening the application of RTM processing in the field of advanced functional materials.