Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

David A. Lucht, Department Head

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Jonathan R. Barnett, Advisor

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Nicholas A. Dembsey, Advisor

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Edward Clougherty, Reader




A material study was conducted on two types of cored composite materials used in shipbuilding: a GRP/Balsa Cored sandwich and a GRP/PVC Foam Cored sandwich. The two materials were tested in the Cone Calorimeter and the LIFT Apparatus to obtain data on ignitability, heat release rate, mass loss rate, and smoke production. The observed phenomena of delamination, melting and charring of the core materials, and edge effects are discussed in the context of how they affect test results. The ignition data analysis method specified in ASTM E 1321 "Standard Test Method for Determining Material Ignition and Flame Spread Properties" and Janssens' "improved" method of analysis were both used to derive effective material properties of the test materials. These two analysis methods are shown to produce different material property values for critical irradiance for ignition, ignition temperature, and the effective thermal property, $k ho c$. Material properties derived using Janssens' method are shown to be more consistent between the two test materials and the two different test methods; they were also shown to be better predictors of time to ignition when compared to actual test data. Material properties are used as input to Quintiere's fire growth model in order to evaluate their affect on time to flashover predictions in the ISO 9705 Room/Corner test scenario. Recommendations are made for future testing of cored composite materials, ignition data analysis methods, predictive fire growth models, and other work with composite materials. ** This copy contains no figures or appendices **


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Fire Protection Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





fire models, Navy, cored composite materials, Composite materials, Fire-testing, Shipbuilding, Materials, Fire-testing