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MSSI Research Forum on April 20 2015 by Professor Geoffrey Gibson, Roland Cookson Chair of Composite Materials Engineering, Newcastle University, United Kingdom


Geoffrey GibsonKey Issues in the Fire Behaviour of Aerospace Composites Under Compressive Load by Professor Geoffrey Gibson, Roland Cookson Chair of Composite Materials Engineering, Newcastle University, United Kingdom.

Date: 20th April 2015

Time: 12:00 to13:00

Duration: One hour

Location: MSB-012 MSSI Building

This presentation will review some key issues in the characterisation of the behaviour of advanced composites under load in a fire situation including the use of small-scale procedures for testing under load and methods of modelling the thermal and mechanical aspects of the failure of these materials in fire. Short-cut methods will be proposed for dealing with effects such as differing ply sequences and approximating the relationship between compressive strength and temperature. The use of advanced composites (CFRP) in structural aircraft applications has moved from defence into commercial aviation and has led to the need to model fire response in engine fires, post-crash and other situations. Previous studies of composites under load in a fire situation have generated useful information from small-scale, low cost tests, so there is interest in wider use of this approach for characterising the fire response of CFRP under load. Procedures for testing and modelling will be discussed, along with other important issues including the measurement of important temperature-dependent thermal properties. Fire response of CFRP under load can be characterised with tests similar to those used for measuring mechanical properties. Compressive failure is more significant than tensile because it is resin-dependent and occurs more rapidly. Rigorous modelling of fire response requires many stress-strain measurements as a function of temperature. It is not normally feasible to carry out so many measurements, so an alternative, simpler approach will be described in which compressive strength (CS) was measured vs. temperature. Other properties including interlaminar shear strength (ILSS) and the DMTA transverse ply modulus were also measured.

Geoff Gibson runs the Centre for Composite Materials Engineering at Newcastle University. He carries out and manages research projects on a wide range of topics involving composite materials. His current interests include fabrication of thermoplastic composites, nano-composites, composite repair and fire behaviour of composite structures. Newcastle was the lead partner in the recently completed EU FIRE-RESIST partnership, which aimed to achieve a step-change in the fire response of composites used in transport. He helped to establish, and is Research Director of the NewRail transport research Centre at Newcastle University, which works on all aspects of transport research, from materials to freight logistics. NewRail has over 25 staff and a turnover exceeding £2.5m. He also spends 2-3 months per year, teaching and carrying out research at Newcastle University International Singapore.


For further information, please contact:
Dr Terry McGrail, Tel. No: (061) 213055 or Email: