Best fire resistant polymers

Discussion in 'Fiberglass and Composite Boat Building' started by Markusik, Oct 25, 2018.

  1. Markusik
    Joined: Jun 2017
    Posts: 22
    Likes: 0, Points: 1
    Location: Lake Michigan

    Markusik Junior Member

    Could you please share some insights on the best fire resistant polymers for building a glass boat (cruising sail catamaran) using vacuum infusion? Things like cost, ease of use, material safety.

    Below the waterline I’d avoid polyesters, but would consider them for furniture etc.

    Thanks!
     
  2. ondarvr
    Joined: Dec 2005
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    Location: Monroe WA

    ondarvr Senior Member

    FR resins tend to cost a great deal more and can be hard to find, there's not a huge demand for them, although the Coast Guard does require them for some applications.

    Depending on the code/spec it meets there isn't much value in using them, the common ones have an ingredient that suppresses the flame, but the smoke is more toxic than regular polyester. The more expensive low smoke versions are very difficult to use.

    Just about every resin manufacturer has one.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2018
  3. KD8NPB
    Joined: Mar 2018
    Posts: 47
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    Location: South Carolina

    KD8NPB Junior Member

    Ashland MODAR / HETRON is what you need. They primarily rely on ATH to suppress fire. Alumina trihydrate flashes in to steam when exposed to high temperatures.

    Bromine is also popular, it acts as a fire suppressant by suffocating the flames, but is also caustic to your lungs.

    Unless you're building a commercial vessel, it's complete overkill.

    Keep in mind too, these are typically filled resins.
     
  4. Markusik
    Joined: Jun 2017
    Posts: 22
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    Location: Lake Michigan

    Markusik Junior Member

    The purpose of the fire resistance would be to protect property and lives, particularly my family’s. A certain amount of money would seem worth decreasing the possibility of us being cooked alive, stranded overboard, or losing our possessions. I confess there is a lot about boat building I don’t know. The boat (currently in pre-design phase) will use petrol outboards for auxiliary propulsion. I realize that explosion is a concern with petrol relative to diesel, but the fuel tanks would be vented to the bridgedeck tunnel with the outboards themselves in bridgedeck wells. I know boats don’t regularly burst into flames, but it is a nightmare scenario.

    Seeing as this will likely be a one-off, maybe I should build in aluminum instead.

    Thanks, ondarvr and KD8NPB, I appreciate your advice.
     
  5. BlueBell
    Joined: May 2017
    Posts: 707
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    Location: Victoria BC Canada

    BlueBell Ahhhhh...

    Fire at sea is bad, as bad , or worse, than sinking.
    A fire plan can hugely reduce the danger.
    Regular drills will reduce it further.
    And prevention can nearly eliminate it all together.

    "Don't be scared, be prepared."
     
  6. DCockey
    Joined: Oct 2009
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    Location: Midcoast Maine

    DCockey Senior Member

    My guess is fires aboard boats rarely if ever originate in the laminate. How intense does a fire have to be before the laminate burns?
     
  7. ondarvr
    Joined: Dec 2005
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    Location: Monroe WA

    ondarvr Senior Member

  8. KD8NPB
    Joined: Mar 2018
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    Location: South Carolina

    KD8NPB Junior Member

    Use a light vinylester for primary construction.
    Metal cladding or phenolic resin around the engine room with nomex coring to insulate and slow flame spread.
    Buy a liferaft.
     

  9. TeddyDiver
    Joined: Dec 2007
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    Location: Finland/Norway

    TeddyDiver Gollywobbler

    Insulate the hull interior with fire resistant Armaflex. Other visible laminates painted with fire resistant acrylic paint..
     
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