The ignitibility of epoxy, phenolic, bismaleimide, and vinyl/ester composites in liquid and gaseous oxygen was studied using the autoignition temperature test method of ASTM G 72 and the mechanical impact test methods of ASTM G 86 and ASTM D 2512. The heat of combustion of composites was also determined using the test method of ASTM D 240 to assess the fire hazards of composites once they ignited and burned. The results of this study indicate that the ignitibility of composites upon mechanical impact in liquid and gaseous oxygen is very complicated because the ignition mechanisms involve not only the thermal stability of organic resins but also the mechanical properties of fibers and material interactions in the composites and the heat transfer in and between organic resins, reinforced fibers, and surrounding fluids. The applicability of test methods to the assessment of ignitibility of composites is also discussed.
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