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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: GR/K37246/01
Principal Investigator: Price, Professor D
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
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Department: Chemistry and Applied Chemistry
Organisation: University of Salford
Scheme: ROPA
Starts: 01 June 1995 Ends: 31 May 1997 Value (£): 151,688
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Materials Characterisation
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Summary on Grant Application Form
The significant chemistry affecting the polymer combustion, and inhibition, occurs in the very narrow interface between the flame and the polymer (6). Much greater knowledge of the significant chemical processes which occur in this region and how they are influenced by the physical nature and chemical composition of the polymer/composite is required to design more fire resistant polymeric materials. It is to this end that these studies will be directed. A heated probe will be used to sample from the flame/polymer interface region, the location of the sampling tip relative to the polymer surface will be continuously monitored in order that the sample analyses can be correlated to the flame/polymer surface profile. Probe samples will be analysed in two ways:i) Mass spectrometrically for real time analysis of significant species (e.g. O2, CO, oxygenated organics).ii) GC/MS analysis of batch samples to obtain detailed information of the myriad of organic species generated and removed in the interface separation prior to mass spectrometric identification and measurement.In addition to the probing of the interface region, species generated within the polymer surface will be investigated by quenching the flame to obtain suitable samples of the surface layer. These will be analysed via suitable means e.g. multiple internal reflectance - FTIR. SEM will be used to observe the nature of the surface structure. Because the cone calorimeter has so rapidly become recognised as a tool for material assessment it is sensible to use the standard cone mass loss calorimeter system as the combustion model. However, the work will be fundamentally different from conventional cone work in that it is the chemistry occurring within the flame and at the polymer/flame interface which will be monitored, the cone system being chosen simply as the model. None of the published cone data are concerned with this aspect. The information obtained is fundamental to understanding polymer combustion and will complement the current laser pyrolysis/mass spectroscopy studies already being funded by ICI. It will also provide data vital to fire modelling techniques as well as providing insight to some of the anomalies observed with conventional cone data. There is, clearly, a major requirement for research into the behaviour of polymers and composite materials when they are exposed to flame. The proposed work will shed new light on the reaction mechanisms involved in polymer and composite combustion. It will also demonstrate the effectiveness of currently used flame-retardants and other additives and lead to the development of optimised incineration conditions for the recycling of polymers and composites. The work will also point the way towards the development of, for example, environmentally-friendly and more cost-effective copolymerised flame-retardants, to replace the currently used additives. Suitable materials for these studies will be provided both directly by ICI, through a research programme at St Andrews University, also being funded by ICI, and a research programme at Lancaster University being funded by SERC.
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Organisation Website: http://www.salford.ac.uk