Amongst the many and varied applications of nanotechnology, the dispersion of nanoscopic fillers to form polymer nano-composites with improved mechanical properties and fire behaviour illustrates the potential and diversity of nanoscience. Polymers decompose in different ways and fire retardants act to inhibit the decomposition or flaming combustion processes. Polymer nanocomposites form barriers between the fuel and air, reducing the rate of burning, but beyond that there is little consistency in their effects. The rheological properties of molten polymer nanocomposites are radically different from those of virgin polymers, and these profoundly affect the heat and fuel transfer through the material, often resulting in shorter times to ignition but lower peaks in the heat release rate. Most fire deaths result from inhalation of toxic gases; many who escape from fire die soon afterwards because of damage to their lungs; fire survivors often suffer injury from toxic smoke inhalation. While the majority of deaths in fires are caused by inhalation of CO and HCN, the incapacitating effects of particulates and other irritants may prevent escape and thus be the reason for the deaths.
Recent Conference presentations:
Professor Hull is a UK Management Committee member and UK representative to COST Action Flaretex.
Professor Hull has been invited to join the advisory committee in support of the USEPA funded “Great Lakes PBDE Institutional Reduction Project".
JA Purser, DA Purser, A Stec, C Moffat, TR Hull, JZ Su, M Byloos, P Blomqvist “ Repeatability and Reproducibility Round Robin for the ISO TS19700 steady state tube furnace” Fire Safety Journal 2013.
Wang D. Y., Wang J. S., Ge X. G., Wang Y. Z., Stec A. A. and Hull T. R., “Preparation and characterisation of a novel flame retarded PET/? zirconium phosphate nanocomposite (?-ZrP)”, Polymer Degradation and Stability 94 (2009) 544.
Staff from across the University form the Institute, bringing together a wealth of experience. Staff with a particular interest in fire behaviour of polymer nanocomposites are:
Characterisation of Dispersions