There is an urgent need to improve the fire performance of fibre composites so that they can be used in infrastructure applications. Nanoparticles from clay has been well known as a potential precursor of nanocomposites because of the significant improvement in mechanical properties and their availability. Nanoclay contains very thin layers of silicates, in which the octahedral sheet of alumina is sandwiched between two tetrahedral sheets of silica. Montmorillonite (MMT) nanoclay, the most widely used type, is often treated with cation-organic surfactants to render it organophilic. The addition of 3-5% organophilic clay into polymeric matrix can enhance the mechanical and thermal performance of the nanocomposite. Most research projects on clay nanocomposites were carried out with more focus on their improvement of mechanical properties. However, the effect of nanoclay on the fire performance of hybrid composites has not been covered comprehensively. In this study, the effect of organoclay on the fire performance of the hybrid nanocomposite was investigated. Epoxy and glass fibre reinforcement were chosen as they have been proven to be more suitable and feasible for civil infrastructure applications. The fire characteristics of the hybrid nanocomposite were evaluated using cone calorimeter tests conducted according to ISO 5660-1.
Recently published experimental evidence shows that nano-silica is a material that can be used to enhance the strength
and durability characteristics of concrete. Engineered concrete at the nano-scale is achieved through the integration of
nano-materials in suitable proportions and relevant mixing methods. Being a pozzolanic and reactive material along with
nucleation effects and miniature particle size, nano-silica has been found to significantly improve the micro-structural
characteristics of concrete making it denser and more uniform.
The ongoing research work at the University of Melbourne is based on a novel modelling approach to further investigate
the performance characteristics of nano-silica on cement paste at the micro-meter scale. The volumetric proportions of
different phases present in concrete are computed considering hydration characteristics of cement and those of nanosilica.
A Representative Volume Element (RVE) of the cement paste at micro scale is developed considering the
hydrated gel as the matrix material while other phases present are integrated as randomly distributed spherical particles.
Constitutive material models for these phases are assumed. The stress-strain relationship for the RVE is then generated
using COMSOL Multiphysics software. The approach proposed in this paper is an initiation towards developing an acute
and compressive model to predict the performance characteristics of nano-engineered concrete.