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Effect of Fire Exposure on Mechanical Properties of Fiber Reinforced Polymer Composite Utility Structures


Title: Effect of Fire Exposure on Mechanical Properties of Fiber Reinforced Polymer Composite Utility Structures

Authors: Ray Liang, Siddhant Sitoula, Chao Zhang, Hota GangaRao, Rakesh Gupta

DOI: 10.33599/nasampe/c.23.0180

Abstract: Fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composite poles are increasingly being used in the utility industry due to their advantages over traditional wood, steel and concrete poles, especially for mountainous terrain. However, the frequent occurrence of wildfires poses a threat to these FRP composite poles. This study investigates the impact of simulated wildfire exposure on the mechanical properties of FRP composite poles and crossarms. Samples from four pole manufacturers and six crossarm manufacturers were exposed to propane gas flame at 1000°C for 1, 2, and 3 minutes. The burned specimens were then tested using three-point bending and short beam shear methods, and the results were compared to unburned specimens. The bending strength and short beam shear strength decrease with increasing burning duration, and the reduction trends depend on various parameters that vary among manufacturers. For utility poles, the bending strength is retained at 75-95% after 1 minute of fire exposure, 63-90% after 2 minutes, and 23-87% after 3 minutes, while the short beam shear strength is retained at 82-97%, 65-94%, and 53-92%, respectively. For crossarm specimens, the retention of bending strength varies among manufacturers, with three retaining 56-102% of their bending strength after 1 minute of fire exposure. The study also demonstrates the self-extinguishing characteristics of FRP composites, and the DSC testing indicates that most samples do not show visible Tg transitions except for M-C samples. This result indicates that the resin adjacent to burn layers is not chemically affected, most likely due to the layered architecture of the composites. The work is sponsored by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

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Conference: CAMX 2023

Publication Date: 2023/10/30

SKU: TP23-0000000180

Pages: 16

Price: $32.00

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