Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Cyanate Ester Clay Nanocomposites: Synthesis and Flammability Studies



Jeffrey W. Gilman, Richard H. Harris Jr., Douglas Hunter


New goals outlined by the U. S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Advanced Fire-Safe Aircraft Materials Research Program enumerate an order-of-magnitude improvement in aircraft cabin-material fire safety. In the pursuit of improved approaches to the design of ultra-fire-safe aircraft interior materials, a wide variety of concerns must be addressed in addition to flammability. For many polymers used in the interior of aircraft cost is a major concern for aircraft manufacturers. Therefore, an additive approach to improving the fire safety of polymers is attractive. The additives must be inexpensive and easily processed with the, polymer. In addition, the additive must not excessively degrade the other performance properties of the polymer, and it must not create environmental problems when recycling or at the time of its final disposal. We have recently found that polymer layered-silicate (clay) nanocomposites have the unique combination of improved flammability properties, and improved physical properties as well as recyclability. We report here on the use of a layered silicate, montmorilionitc clay, dispersed at the nanometer level, in cyanate ester resins for improving flammability. We show that the use of melamine-treated montmorillonite in these resins yields exfoliated moutmorillonite in the cured cyanate ester nanocomposites. This reduces the peak heat release rate by over 50%. We anticipate that this nanocomposite approach would be especially useful in improving toughened cyanate ester resins since the typical toughening agents used often increase the flammability and lower the modulus.
Proceedings Title
International SAMPE Symposiium/Exhibition, 44th Proceedings
Conference Dates
May 23-27, 1999
Conference Location
Long Beach, CA
Conference Title
Evolving and Revolutionary Technologies for the New Millennium


nanocomposites, flammability, phenolictriazines, aircraft compartments, fire safety, aircraft interiors


Gilman, J. , Harris, R. and Hunter, D. (1999), Cyanate Ester Clay Nanocomposites: Synthesis and Flammability Studies, International SAMPE Symposiium/Exhibition, 44th Proceedings, Long Beach, CA, [online], (Accessed June 23, 2024)


If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact

Created May 23, 1999, Updated February 19, 2017