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Investigation Into the Flammability Properties of Honeycomb Composites (NISTIR 5509)



Marc R. Nyden, James E. Brown


The study which is the subject of this record was carried out in two stages. The objective of the first phase was to investigate the effect of electron beam irradiation and grafting on polymer flammability. The time to ignition and the rate-of-heat-release were measured for the combustion of a series of samples in which a fire resistant polymer was used to protect the surface of a more flammable polymer. The flammability properties of honeycomb composite materials, which are currently used in the interior cabin compartments of commercial aircraft, were examined in the second phase of this project. Analyses of the gases evolved during the thermal degradation of the components indicated that the phenol-formaldehyde resin makes a significant contribution to the flammability of these composites. The possibility that a more fire resistant formulation could be developed was examined by testing a series of resins which differed in the relative amounts of phenol and formaldehyde used in the reaction mixtures. The flammabilities of resins synthesized in excess phenol were measurably less than those synthesized in excess formaldehyde.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 5509
Report Number


flammability, FT-IR, phenol formaldehyde, composite materials, thermal degradation


Nyden, M. and Brown, J. (1994), Investigation Into the Flammability Properties of Honeycomb Composites (NISTIR 5509), NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed April 16, 2024)
Created October 1, 1994, Updated November 10, 2018