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Title:
THERMOPLASTIC FIRE-RETARDANT COMPOSITES
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/220229
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Thermoplastic fire-retardant composites, methods of making thermoplastic fire-retardant composites, and use thereof are described. A thermoplastic fire-retardant composite can include a first reinforced laminate disposed on the outer surface of a porous thermoplastic core material and a fire-retardant film disposed on the outer surface of the first reinforced laminate. The fire-retardant composite meets European fire-retardant standards for buses and rail transportation.

Inventors:
SOLENICKI GORAN
WISMANS JORIS
WIRTZ REMCO
KULKARNI SANDEEP
Application Number:
PCT/IB2021/053602
Publication Date:
November 04, 2021
Filing Date:
April 30, 2021
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
SHPP GLOBAL TECH BV (NL)
International Classes:
B32B5/18; B32B3/12; B32B7/12; B32B27/06; B32B27/08; B32B27/18; B32B27/20; B32B27/28; B32B27/30; B32B27/32; B32B27/36; B32B27/40
Domestic Patent References:
WO2018215870A12018-11-29
WO2018169851A12018-09-20
WO2018215870A12018-11-29
WO2016142786A12016-09-15
WO2019038640A12019-02-28
Foreign References:
EP1055513A12000-11-29
US7803856B22010-09-28
US20130248783A12013-09-26
US20160244600A12016-08-25
Other References:
MILLER ET AL., POLYMERS & POLYMER COMPOSITES, vol. 4, no. 7, 1996
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Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A fire-retardant composite comprising:

(a) a porous core material comprising a first thermoplastic polymer comprising polyethylene terephthalate, a fire-retardant polypropylene, a polycarbonate, a polyimide, a polyethersulfone, a polyurethane, or a poly(phenylene ether)/styrene blend, or a blend thereof;

(b) a first reinforced laminate disposed on a first side of the porous core, the first reinforced laminate comprising at least one layer, the layer comprising, based on the total weight of the layer:

(i) 50 wt.% to 80 wt.% fibers,

(ii) 20 wt.% to 50 wt.% of a second thermoplastic polymer comprising polypropylene, polyethylene, a polycarbonate, a polycarbonate copolymer, a polyethylene terephthalate, a polyethersulfone, a poly(phenylene) ether, poly(p-phenyl)oxide, or a polyimide, or a blend thereof; and

(iii) 0 wt.% to 30 wt.% of a first fire-retardant composition;

(c) a first fire-retardant film disposed on the outer surface of the first reinforced laminate, wherein the first fire-retardant film comprises, based on the total weight of first fire-retardant film:

(i) 59 to 95% of a third thermoplastic polymer compatible with the second thermoplastic polymer;

(ii) 5 to 40 wt.%, of a second fire-retardant composition; and

(iii) 0 to 1 wt.% additives.

2. The fire-retardant composite of claim 1 , further comprising an adherent layer contacting at least a portion of the surface of the porous core material and at least a portion of the surface of at least one of the reinforced laminates.

3. The fire-retardant composite of claim 2, wherein the adherent layer comprises 0 wt.% to 30 wt.% of a third fire-retardant composition and 70 wt.% to 100 wt.% of polypropylene, ethylene vinyl acetate, polypropylene-polyethylene terephthalate blends, acrylics, nitriles, silicone rubbers, styrene-butadiene- styrene copolymers, sty rene-ethy 1 ene/buty 1 ene- styrene copolymers, sty rene-ethy 1 ene/ propyl ene copolymers, styrene-isoprene- styrene copolymers, or a combination thereof.

4. The fire-retardant composite of any one of claims 1 to 3, wherein the first, second, or third fire-retardant composition comprise an intumescent fire-retardant composition.

5. The fire-retardant composite of any one of claims 1 to 4, wherein the fire-retardant composition comprises a metal oxide and a nitrogen-phosphorous compound, preferably the metal oxide is zinc oxide and the nitrogen-phosphorous compound is selected from the group consisting of melamine pyrophosphate, piperazine pyrophosphate, ammonium polyphosphate, and mixtures thereof.

6. The fire-retardant composite of claim 5, further comprising a second laminate or a support disposed on a side opposite the first side of the core.

7. The fire-retardant composite of claim 6, wherein the second laminate is the same or different than the first laminate.

8. The fire-retardant composite of any one of claim 7, further comprising a second fire- retardant film disposed on the outer surface of the second laminate, wherein the second fire-retardant film is the same or different than the first fire-retardant film.

9. The fire-retardant composite of claim 8, wherein the first fire-retardant film, the second fire-retardant film, or both have a thickness of 0.05 mm to 5 mm.

10. The fire-retardant composite of any one of claims 1 to 9, where the composite thickness is greater than 0.5 mm to 100 mm, preferably 5 mm to 80 mm, more preferably 10 mm to 50 mm.

11. The fire-retardant composite of any one of claims 1 to 10, wherein the fibers comprise glass fibers, carbon fibers, aramid fibers, ceramic fibers, basalt fibers, steel fibers, natural fibers, or combinations thereof.

12. The fire-retardant composite of any one of claims 1 to 11, wherein porous core is polyethylene terephthalate, the second and third thermoplastic polymer is polypropylene, and the fire retardant composition is zinc oxide and the nitrogen- phosphorous compound is selected from the group consisting of melamine pyrophosphate, piperazine pyrophosphate, ammonium polyphosphate, and mixtures thereof.

13. The fire-retardant composite of claim 12, wherein the fibers are glass fibers, and the laminate layer further comprises 0.01 wt.% to 2 wt.%, based on the total weight of the layer of a coupling agent.

14. The fire-retardant composite of any one of claims 2 to 12, wherein porous core is polyethylene terephthalate, the second and third thermoplastic polymer is polypropylene, the laminate and the adherent layer comprise a fire-retardant composition, and the fire retardant composition in the laminate, fire-retardant film and the adherent layer is zinc oxide and the nitrogen-phosphorous compound is selected from the group consisting of melamine pyrophosphate, piperazine pyrophosphate, ammonium polyphosphate, and mixtures thereof.

15. The fire-retardant composite of claims 1 or 14, wherein the fire-retardant composite passes ANNEX 7 and ANNEX 8 of the ECE R No. 118 and flame spread test EN ISO 9239-1.

Description:
DESCRIPTION

THERMOPLASTIC FIRE-RETARDANT COMPOSITES

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims the benefit of priority of European Patent Application No. 20172230.3, filed April 30, 2020, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A. Field of the Invention

[0002] The invention generally concerns fire-retardant composites. In particular, the fire- retardant composites are capable of meeting the fire requirements for vehicles ( e.g ., bus, rail, train).

B. Description of Related Art

[0003] Composite laminates can be used to form structures having advantageous structural characteristics, such as high strength, high stiffness, and/or relatively low weight when compared to similar structures formed from conventional materials (e.g., balsa wood sandwich structures). As a result, composite laminates are used in a variety of applications across a wide range of industries, including the automotive, aerospace, rail transportation, and consumer electronics industries.

[0004] In many mass transportation applications (e.g, a train, a tram, a subway, a light rail, a monorail, an aircraft, a helicopter, a bus, a trolley, a ferry, a cable car, and the like.), it is desirable for a structural component or composite to demonstrate fire resistance by meeting various specifications for fire, smoke, toxicity, and performance. Many countries have various standards for fire resistant materials used in the transportation industry, thus making it difficult to meet all of the standards with a single composite material. This can result in manufactures having to produce different materials for different regions, which can be inefficient from an economic as well as a manufacturing perspective. Examples of these standards include ECE Regulation No. 118 Annex 7 (2005) + Rev. 2-amendment 1 (2018) and Annex 8 (2005) + Rev. 2-amendment 1(2018), European Union ISO-9239-1 :2010 (en), European Union EN-45545-2, American Section for the International Association for Testing Method (ASTM) E662, ASTM El 62, Chinese standard TB/T, or the International Union of Railways standard UIC 564.

[0005] Various attempts to provide fire resistant light-weight structural components have included using polymeric materials that include halogen plastic materials (e.g, fluorocarbon polymeric material, polyvinyl chloride, or the like). However, these materials suffer in that they can produce toxic, harmful, and undesirable halogen-containing gases and/or may not meet industry standards. Composites made from non-halogen containing polymers, while providing numerous advantages, can suffer in that many are flammable and/or may not provide the mechanical and/or physical properties necessary for the application ( e.g ., floor panels). By way of example, International Patent Application Publication No. WO 2018/215870 to Goran et al. describes a fire-retardant laminate used to make fire-retardant composites. These composites pass fire-retardant tests for interior panels. In another example, EP Patent Application No. EP 1055513 to Green et al. describes prepeg panels impregnated with two layers of different fire retardant materials. These panels suffer in that they use thermosetting polymers which tend to be brittle and are more labor intensive to produce.

[0006] In addition to better fire-retardant properties, various attempts to reduce a vehicle’s energy consumption or increase its range, lighter vehicles (e.g. busses, trams, trains, and the like) are being investigated. For example, a vehicle’s weight can be reduced by simplifying the support structures onto which a wall or floor is mounted. By simplifying the structure, typically the unsupported length increases, which in turn requires stiffer walls or floors to deal with the same loads of the incumbent structure. Conventional methods to reduce weight include the use of balsa wood as a core material for making thermoplastic composites. Disadvantages of using balsa wood is that it is prone to moisture absorption (leading to weight increase and rotting of the panel).

[0007] While various attempts have been made to produce thermoplastic fire-retardant composites, these attempts have failed to meet the transportation industry’s fire standards and structural standards for mass transit vehicles.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] A discovery has been made that addresses some of the problems associated with fire-retardant composites used in the mass transportation (e.g, rail and bus transportation) industry. The discovery includes a thermoplastic fire-retardant composite. The composite includes a thermoplastic core, a first fiber reinforced laminate, and a fire-retardant outer film layer. The fire-retardant composite can be in a sandwich form and can include a second laminate or a support structure positioned on the opposite surface of the core than the first fiber reinforced laminate. It was found that such a structure can meet rail and bus transportation industry standards (e.g, fire testing of materials and components for bus and train standards, which includes passing ECE Regulation 118, Annex 7 and Annex 8, EN45545-2, have a CHF (kW/m 2 ) 6 to 8, and HL3 level with CHF(kW/m 2 ) higher than 8 in flame spread testing IS09239-1, and structural requirements). Further, the materials used in this structure provide the advantages of (1) being light-weight and (2) can avoid the off-gassing issues seen with many of the currently available composites. Additionally, the manufacturing processing steps used to make the composites of the present invention can be economically efficient and scalable for commercial production.

[0009] In one aspect of the present invention, fire-retardant composites are described. A fire-retardant composite can include (a) a porous core material, (b) a first reinforced laminate disposed on a first side of the porous core, and (c) a first fire-retardant film disposed on the outer surface of the first reinforced laminate. The fire-retardant composite can also include a second laminate or a support structure ( e.g metal containing material such as a metal alloy, or metalloid material, preferably an aluminum material) disposed on a side opposite the first side of the core. In some embodiments, when a second laminate is used, a second fire-retardant film can be disposed on the opposite outer surface of the second first reinforced laminate. The first fire-retardant film can be absent of fiber reinforcement material or include fiber reinforcement material. The fire-retardant film(s) can have a total thickness less than the total thickness of the laminate. The second fire-retardant film can be the same or different than the first fire- retardant film. The second laminate can be the same or different than the first laminate. The porous core can include a first thermoplastic polymer that can include a polyethylene terephthalate, a fire-retardant polypropylene, a polycarbonate, a polyimide, a polyethersulfone, a polyurethane, or a poly(phenylene ether)/styrene blend, or a blend thereof. The first reinforced laminate can include at least one layer. The reinforced laminate can include at least one layer, the layer can include, based on the total weight of the layer 20 wt.% to 50 wt.% of a second thermoplastic polymer, 0 wt.% to 30 wt.% of a fire-retardant composition, and 20 wt.% to 80 wt.% fibers, . The first fire-retardant film is disposed on the outer surface of the first reinforced laminate. The second thermoplastic can include polypropylene, polyethylene, a polycarbonate, a polycarbonate copolymer, a polyethylene terephthalate, a polyethersulfone, a poly(phenylene) ether, a poly(p-phenyl)oxide, or a polyimide, or a blend thereof. The first fire- retardant film can include, based on the total weight of the film 59 wt.% to 95 wt.% of a third thermoplastic polymer, 5 to 40 wt.% of a fire-retardant composition, and 0 wt.% to 1 wt.% additives. The third thermoplastic material is compatible with the second thermoplastic material. The fire-retardant film(s) (e.g., the first and/or the second fire-retardant films) can have a thickness of 0.05 mm to 5 mm, preferably 0.5 mm to 3 mm. The fire retardant composition can be an intumescent compound. The fire-retardant composition used in the laminates and the films of the present invention can include the same components, but the amounts of the components can vary. In some embodiments, the fire-retardant composition can include a metal oxide ( e.g ., zinc oxide) and a nitrogen-phosphorous compound (e.g, melamine pyrophosphate, piperazine pyrophosphate, ammonium polyphosphate, and mixtures thereof). The composite thickness can be greater than 0.5 mm to 100 mm, preferably 5 mm to 80 mm, more preferably 10 mm to 50 mm. The second and/or third thermoplastic polymers can be polypropylene. In one instance, the core material is PET and the second and thermoplastic polymers are polypropylene and the fibers are glass fibers. In such a composition the layer in the first reinforced laminate can include 0.01 wt.% to 2 wt.% of a coupling agent. The fire-retardant composite can include an adherent layer (e.g, a fire-retardant film or layer, or a non-fire-retardant layer) between the core and the laminate. The adherent layer/film can contact at least a portion of the surface of the porous core material and at least a portion of the surface of the laminate(s) and adhere the laminate(s) to the porous core. The adherent layer can include 0 wt.% to 40 wt.% of a third fire-retardant composition and 60 wt.% to 100 wt.% of ethylene vinyl acetate, polypropylene, polypropylene-polyethylene terephthalate blends, acrylics, nitriles, silicone rubbers, styrene-butadiene- styrene copolymers, styrene- ethylene/butylene- styrene copolymers, styrene-ethylene/propylene copolymers, styrene- isoprene- styrene copolymers, or a combination thereof. The adherent layer can be the same or different than the fire-retardant film used on the outer surface of the laminate(s). Fibers in the laminate can include glass fibers, carbon fibers, aramid fibers, ceramic fibers, basalt fibers, natural fibers (e.g, hemp, bamboo, flax, jute, cellulose, and the like), steel fibers, or combinations thereof. In some embodiments, the fibers are glass fibers, and the fibers can have an average diameter of 3 to 30 microns. In another instance, the fibers can be glass fibers, carbon fibers, or a combination thereof. In some instances, the second laminate is the same as the first laminate, the second fire-retardant film is the same as the first fire-retardant film, or both.

[0010] Other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following figures, detailed description, and examples. It should be understood, however, that the figures, detailed description, and examples, while indicating specific embodiments of the invention, are given by way of illustration only and are not meant to be limiting. Additionally, it is contemplated that changes and modifications within the spirit and scope of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from this detailed description. In further embodiments, features from specific embodiments may be combined with features from other embodiments. For example, features from one embodiment may be combined with features from any of the other embodiments. In further embodiments, additional features may be added to the specific embodiments described herein.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0011] Advantages of the present invention may become apparent to those skilled in the art with the benefit of the following detailed description and upon reference to the accompanying drawings.

[0012] FIG. 1 A is an illustration of a cross-sectional view of a fire-retardant composite of the present invention having a sandwich-type structure that includes two thermoplastic laminate, a porous thermoplastic core, and a fire-retardant film.

[0013] FIG. IB is an illustration of a cross-sectional view of a fire-retardant composite of the present invention having a sandwich-type structure that includes four layers, a porous thermoplastic core, and a fire-retardant film.

[0014] FIG. 1C is an illustration of a cross-sectional view of a fire-retardant composite of the present invention having a sandwich-type structure that includes six layers, a porous thermoplastic core, and a fire-retardant film.

[0015] FIG. 2 is an illustration of cross-sectional view of a fire-retardant composite of the present invention having a sandwich-type structure that includes four layers with at least one layer including a fire-retardant composition, a porous thermoplastic core, a fire-retardant film on the outer surface of the laminate, and two fire-retardant adherent layer between the laminate and porous core.

[0016] FIG. 3 is an illustration of cross-sectional view of a fire-retardant composite of the present invention having a sandwich-type structure that includes four non-fire retardant layers, a porous thermoplastic core, and two fire-retardant adherent layer between the laminate and porous core.

[0017] FIG. 4 is a flow chart of a method to make a sandwich-type composite of the present invention from two laminates, a porous thermoplastic core, and a fire-retardant film.

[0018] FIG. 5 is a flow chart of a method to make a sandwich-type composite of the present invention having two laminates, a porous thermoplastic core, and two fire-retardant films. [0019] While the invention is susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, specific embodiments thereof are shown by way of example in the drawings. The drawings may not be to scale.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0020] Many thermoplastic components made for the mass transportation industry ( e.g ., vehicle industry) fail the fire testing requirements and structural requirements. By way of example, most components made from polypropylene containing polymeric materials fail these tests. A discovery has been found that addresses some the problems associated with conventional reinforced thermoplastic components. The discovery is premised on a fire- retardant thermoplastic composite that can include a laminate having a thermoplastic polymer (e.g., polypropylene) and fire-retardant composition and a porous (e.g, honeycomb or foamed) thermoplastic core, and a fire. As exemplified in the Examples, in a non-limiting manner, the fire-retardant composite of the present invention can be compliant with transportation standards (e.g, ECE Regulation 118, Annex 7 and Annex 8, and flame spread test EN ISO 9239-1). As further exemplified in the Examples, composites having a fire-retardant laminate and fire- retardant adherent layer do not meet these standards. These and other non-limiting aspects of the present invention are discussed in further detail in the following sections.

A. Fire-retardant Composite

[0021] The fire-retardant composite of the present invention can have a sandwich-type structure having a thermoplastic core positioned between two thermoplastic laminates. FIGS. 1A-1C are cross-sectional illustrations of fire-retardant composite 100. Referring to FIG. 1A, composite 100 can have porous thermoplastic core 102, first laminate 104, and second laminate 106, and a fire-retardant films 108, 110. In some embodiments, second laminate 106 is a support material. The support material can be a metal containing material, an alloy, a metalloid material, or a combination thereof. The support can be capable of adhering to the core either through use of an adherent layer and/or by using heat. A non-limiting example of a support material is an aluminum panel. It should be understood that while a support is not shown, the second laminate can be support. While only one laminate is shown, it should be understood that multiple laminates can be used. First laminate 104 and second laminate 106 can be made of one layer or multiple layers (e.g, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 11, 12, etc ). FIGS. IB and 1C depict composite 100 with four layers (layers 112, 112’, 114 and 114’) and six layers (layer 112, 114, 116, 118, 120, and 122), respectively. One or all of the layers can include fibers 124 dispersed within polymeric matrix material 126 (See, FIG. 1 A). It should be understood that the hatching in the layers of figures does not represent direction of the fibers unless indicated otherwise. The compositions of laminate 104 and 106 can be the same or different and is discussed in more detail in Section C below. In a preferred embodiment, laminate 104 and 106 can include different compositions, similar compositions, substantially the same, or the same composition. In one instance, laminate 104 and 106 are fire-retardant laminates. The compositions of fire-retardant films 108 and 110 can be the same or different and is discussed in more detail in Section C below. In a preferred embodiment, fire-retardant films 108 and 110 can have the same compositions or similar compositions. The thickness of each fire-retardant film 108, 110 is less than the thickness of each laminate 104, 106. More specifically, the fire- retardant film or fire-retardant adherent layer can have a thickness of 0.05 to 5 mm, 0.5 to 4 mm, 1 to 3 mm, or 0.05, 0.1, 0.15, 0.2, 0.25, 0.3, 0.35, 0.4, 0.45, 0.5, 0.55, 0.6, 0.65, 0.7, 0.75, 0.8, 0.85, 0.9, 0.95, 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5, 4, 4.5, or 5 mm, or any value or range there between in thickness. The fire-retardant film thickness can vary based on the laminate thickness as long as the film is thinner than the laminate. For example, the laminate can have a thickness of 0.5 mm and the fire-retardant film can have a thickness of less than 0.5 mm. A ratio of the thickness of laminate to fire-retardant film can be 1.1 to 100, 2 to 50, 5 to 40, 5 to 30 or 1.1, 1.5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, 75, 80, 85, 90, 95, 100, or any range or value there between.

[0022] In some embodiments, composite 100 can include an adherent layer and/or a fire- retardant adherent layer. The adherent layer and/or fire-retardant adherent layer can be used to improve the adhesion between layers and/or laminates and the core. FIG. 2 depicts composite 200 that include adherent layers 202 and 204 between laminate 104, laminate 106 and core 102. Adherent layers 202 and 204 can be the same or different adherent composition. For example, adherent layer 202 can include a fire-retardant composition and adherent layer 204 does not include a fire-retardant composition. In some embodiments, only one adherent layer is used. By way of example, composite 200 can only include adherent layer 202 and not adherent layer 204 (not shown). Adherent layers 202 and 204 can include adherent (adhesive) compositions and other components. Non-limiting examples of adherents include ethylene vinyl acetate, polypropylene, polypropylene-polyethylene terephthalate blends, acrylics, nitriles, silicone rubbers, styrene-butadiene- styrene copolymers, styrene-ethylene/butylene- styrene copolymers, styrene-ethylene/propylene copolymers, styrene-isoprene-styrene copolymers, a combination thereof, or blend thereof. In a preferred instance, ethylene vinyl acetate or polypropylene is used. In another embodiment, no adherent layer is used. In some embodiments, the adherent is mixed with other additives including antioxidants, heat stabilizers, flow modifiers, colorants, etc ., or any combinations thereof. Adherents and other additives are available from commercial chemical suppliers such as, for example, SigmaMillipore (U.S.A.), ExxonMobil Chemical (U.S.A.), LyondellBassell (U.S.A.), and the like. In some embodiments, adherent layers 202, 204 can be fire-retardant adherent layers. The fire-retardant adherent layer can include one or more of the adherents listed above and a fire-retardant composition. The fire retardant composition can be the same or different than the fire-retardant composition in a fire-retardant laminate and/or the fire-retardant film. Non limiting examples of fire-retardant materials are discussed in Section F Fire Retardant Compositions. In a preferred embodiment, the fire-retardant adherent layer has the same composition as the fire-retardant film ( e.g ., polypropylene and a fire-retardant composition).

[0023] In some embodiments, composite 300 can include a non-fire-retardant laminate, a core and at least one fire-retardant adherent layer between the laminate and core. The adherent layer can be used to improve the adhesion between layers and/or laminates and the core. FIG. 3 depicts composite 300 that include fire-retardant adherent layers 202 and 204 between non- fire-retardant laminate 302, non-fire-retardant laminate 304 and core 102. Fire-retardant films 108, 110 are on the outer surface of laminates 302 and 304. Adherent layers 202 and 204 can be the same or different adherent composition. In some embodiments, only one fire-retardant adherent layer is used. By way of example, composite 300 can only include adherent layer 302 and not adherent layer 304 (not shown).

[0024] The fire-retardant composites of the present invention can be dimensioned and shaped according to respective applications. The overall thickness of the composite can be up to and even exceeding several millimeters. More specifically, the composite can have a thickness of 1 to 100 mm, 0.4 to 50 mm, 0.6 to 25 mm, or 1, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45 or 50 mm or any value or range there between in thickness. The thickness of the composite can vary depending on the desired weight % of each laminate. The thickness of the composite can be obtained by controlling the thickness of the layers used to make the laminate. Composites 100 200, or 300 can be rectangular; however, other embodiments of the present laminates can be triangular, square, or otherwise polygonal (whether having sharp and/or rounded comers), circular, elliptical, or otherwise rounded, or can have an irregular shape. Some embodiments of the present composites can include one or more openings, notches, and/or the like, which can facilitate incorporation of the composite into a structure. [0025] In some embodiments, the composite and/or laminates can be decorated. In use, a surface of the composite or laminates can be subjected to printing with ink. In an embodiment, an exposed surface of the composite ( e.g ., an exposed surface of the fire-retardant film) can be subsequently decorated, in particular printed with markings such as alphanumerics, graphics, symbols, indicia, logos, aesthetic designs, multicolored regions, and a combination that includes at least one of the foregoing. In some embodiments, each layer can be decorated. In some embodiments, one of the exposed (or outer) surfaces of the composite can be subjected to common curing and/or surface modification processes. Non-limiting examples of such processes can include heat-setting, texturing, calendaring, embossing, corona treatment, flame treatment, plasma treatment, and vacuum deposition.

[0026] In some embodiments, the composite can include a cap layer material. The cap layer can be a film laminate made from a different polymer and process than the composite laminates. By way of example, it can be an extruded film material, which is, for example, chemical resistant to cleaning agents. Film materials used can include polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF), polyvinyl fluoride (PVF), poly(methylmethacrylate) (PMMA), multilayered combinations and blends thereof. These film materials can be applied by roller lamination or double belt press lamination equipment. Also aesthetic film materials can be used to produce, for example, a wood grain or metallic surface. The cap layer can be created by co-extrusion (single or multi manifold). In some embodiments, an anti-microbial surface can be created by co-extrusion of film materials with silver. In some embodiments, the cap layer can be made by screen-printing an aesthetic or functional ink layer. In most instances, these cap layers will be thermoformable.

[0027] The fire-retardant composites (e.g., composites 100, 200 and 300 in FIGS. 1-3) can be made using known panel consolidation techniques. By way of example, the fire-retardant composite can be made using continuous systems that include one or more machines capable of cutting, cooling, stacking, wrapping, or the like (for example, static heated presses, double belt presses and the like). FIGS. 4 and 5 are flow charts of methods to prepare fire-retardant composites 100 (FIG. 4) and 200 (FIG. 5). In step 402 of method 400, laminates 104, 106 and porous thermoplastic core 102 can be obtained. In some embodiments, the laminates can be include at least 2 or 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 or more layers having a thickness of about 0.1 to 10 mm, or 0.25 to 5 mm. In some embodiments, the core density can be reduced to a desired density by patterning the core thermoplastic layer. Porous thermoplastic core 102 can be positioned between the two laminates. In step 404, the composite stack can be formed by heating and pressing the laminates and core together. By way of example the composite stack can enter a first zone of a double belt press at a pressure of 5 to 15 N/cm 2 , or (0.5 to 1.5 MPa, or 0.5, 0.6, 0.7, 0.8, 0.9, 1, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5 MPa or any value or range there between) and then heated to a temperature of 140 to 250 °C, ( e.g ., about 145 °C to 220 °C). The pressed stack can enter a second zone, be pressed, and the heated to 140 to 250 °C, (e.g., about 145 °C to 220 °C). The pressed stack can enter a third zone, be pressed and then heated at a temperature of 150 to 250 °C (e.g, about 200 to 230 °C, or about 220 °C) to form a laminate 104/core 102/laminate 106 structure. In some embodiments, laminates 104 and 106 fully encapsulate core 102 after heat pressing. The laminate 104/core 102/laminate 106 structure can be cooled to ambient temperature. In step 406, fire-retardant film 108 and/or fire-retardant film 110 can be provided to the cooled structure and pressed and heated at a temperature of 150 to 250 °C (e.g, about 200 to 230 °C, or about 220 °C) to form the composite. The pressing and heating can be performed multiple times to attach the film to the composite. In other embodiments, step 406 can be performed together or prior to step 404.

[0028] In method 500, laminates 104, 106, core 102, and a fire-retardant adherent layer can be obtained in step 502. In some instance, an adhesive is used instead of a fire-retardant adherent layer. In some embodiments, the core density can be reduced to a desired density by patterning the core thermoplastic layer. Core 102 can be positioned between the two laminates with adhesive being between at least one surface of the core and a laminate. Film resin can be provided to the surface of the laminate. In some embodiments, the surface of core 102 can be treated with the fire-retardant adherent layer or and the adhesive or both prior to assembling the stack. In step 504, the composite stack can be formed by heating and pressing the laminates, fire-retardant adherent layer or adhesive or both, and core together. By way of example, the composite stack can enter a first zone of a double belt press at a pressure of 5 to 15 N/cm 2 , or (0.5 to 1.5 MPa, or 0.5, 0.6, 0.7, 0.8, 0.9, 1, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5 MPa or any value or range there between) and then heated to a temperature of 140 to 250 °C, (e.g, about 145 °C to 220 °C). The pressed stack can enter a second zone, be pressed, and the heated to 140 to 250 °C, (e.g, about 145 °C to 220 °C). The pressed stack can enter a third zone, be pressed and then heated at a temperature of 140 to 250 °C, (e.g, about 145 °C to 220 °C) to form the composite 200. In some embodiments, laminates 104 and 106 and fire-retardant films 108, 110 fully encapsulate core 102 after heat pressing. In some embodiments, adhesive film (FR and non FR) and laminates can be supplied on rolls. The core can be supplied in plate shape and feed manually. The consolidation process can be started with introducing laminate and adhesive layer by unwrapping the rolls and introducing them into the double belt press. Upper laminate and adhesive layer and lower laminate and adhesive layer can be introduced at the same time into the press. After consolidation, the core (plates) can be feed in between the adhesive and the laminate. The layup of the laminate, adhesive, and core is done prior to feeding the materials into the double belt press. Once, the layup is performed (laminate, adhesive film, core, adhesive film and laminate, the material is pulled by press and then pressed in one step.

[0029] The composites of the present invention can be used in transportation components. Non-limiting examples of transportation components can include floor panels, claddings, covers, and tray tables for train interiors. Non-limiting examples of claddings include: interior vertical surfaces, such as side walls, front walls, end-walls, partitions, room dividers, flaps, boxes, hoods and louvres; interior doors and linings for internal and external doors; window insulations; kitchen interior surfaces; interior horizontal surfaces, such as ceiling paneling, flaps, boxes, hoods and louvres; luggage storage areas, such as overhead and vertical luggage racks, luggage containers and compartments; driver’s desk applications, such as paneling and surfaces of driver’s desk; interior surfaces of gangways, such as interior sides of gangway membranes (bellows) and interior linings; window frames (including sealants and gaskets); (folding) tables with downward facing surface; interior and exterior surface of air ducts, and devices for passenger information (such as information display screens) and the like.

[0030] While the compositions described herein are designed for use preferably in railway interiors, it is to be understood that the compositions are also useful in other interior components that are required to meet the fire retardant test standards for rail applications. By way of example, the components can be used for interior bus articles of manufacture such as floor panels, claddings, covers, tray tables, and the like as described above.

B. Core Material

[0031] The porous thermoplastic core (See, for example core 102 in FIGS. 1A, IB, 2 and 3) can have an open-cell foam structure, a closed-cell foam structure, a honeycomb structure, or combinations thereof. In some embodiments, the porous thermoplastic core has a honeycomb structure that is filled with foamed thermoplastic material. The density of the core can be greater than or substantially equal to any one of, or between any two of: 20, 25, 50, 75, 100, 125, 150, 175, 200, 225, 250, 275, 300, 325, 350, 357, and 400 Kgm 3 . Polymers used for sandwich panel core 102 can be linear (non-crosslinked), partially crosslinked or fully crosslinked depending on the final application. Crosslinking of core material can be done during core manufacturing or be an additional processing operation. Core materials can include additional fillers and/or fire-retardant compositions. Fillers can include fiber or particles such as, for example, inorganic fiber-particles, and the like. The amount and composition of the filler can include halogenated materials as long as the materials are not detrimental to the overall performance of the composite.

[0032] Core materials can include a polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a fire-retardant polypropylene (PP), a polycarbonate (PC), a polyimide, a polyethersulfone (PES), a polyurethane (PU), or a poly(phenylene ether)/styrene blend, or a blend thereof. “Polypropylene” as used herein includes polypropylene and co-polymers thereof. “Polycarbonate polymers” as used herein include polycarbonate polymers and co-polymers thereof and are described in more detail below. “Polyimides” as used herein include polyimides and polyetherimides. Thermoplastic cores can be produced or are available from various commercial sources. By way of example, a PET core can be obtained from commercial sources such as Armacell Benelux S.A. (Beligum) under the tradename of ArmaFORM®, or from Diab Group (Sweden) under the tradename of Divinylcell P. In a preferred embodiment, the core is a PET foam. Fire-retardant polypropylene honeycomb cores can be obtained from EconCore N.V. (Belgium.) under the tradename ThermHex. Polyimide cores can be obtained from commercial suppliers such as DuPont™ (U.S.A.), Hexcel Corporation (U.S.A.), and the like.

C. Laminates

[0033] One or multiple layers can include a second thermoplastic polymer, an optional fire- retardant composition, fibers, and an optional coupling agent. In some embodiments, no fire- retardant composition is used. Thermoplastic polymers suitable for use in making the first or second laminate can include thermoplastic polymers that are the same or different from the thermoplastic polymers used for the core. Non-limiting examples of a second thermoplastic polymers include a polypropylene, polyethylene, PET, a PC, a PC copolymer, a polyimide, a PES, a poly(phenylene ether), PPO, or a poly(phenylene ether)/styrene blend, or a blend thereof. In a preferred embodiment, the layer includes polypropylene, more specifically polypropylene homopolymer. Polypropylene can be obtained from various commercial suppliers. Non-limiting examples of commercial polypropylene include Achieve™ 6936G2 resin by ExxonMobil (U.S.A.), Braskem CP1220B by Songhan Plastic Technology Co., Ltd. (China), Moplen HP500V by LyondellBasell Industries Holding, B.V. (the Netherlands), PP FPC100 by SABIC® (Saudi Arabia), and the like. In some embodiments, the polypropylene can be a high flow polypropylene, which has a melt flow rate of 210 to 240 or about 230 °C/2.16 Kg as determined by ISO 1133 at about 120 g/10 min). In some embodiments, a layer includes greater than or substantially equal to any one of, or any range of any two of: 25 wt.%, 30 wt.%, 35 wt.%, 40 wt.%, 45 wt.%, or 50 wt.% of polymer, based on the total weight of the layer. The laminate layer(s) do not include thermoset polymers.

[0034] The total amount of fire-retardant composition in the laminate layer can be 0 to 30 wt.%, preferably 5 to 20 wt.%, or greater than or substantially equal to any one of, or between any two of: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 4.5, 5, 5.5, 6, 6.5, 7, 7.5, 8, 8.5, 9, 9.5, 10, 10.5, 11, 11.5, 12, 12.5, 13,

13.5, 14, 14.5, 15, 15.5, 16, 16.5, 17, 17.5, 18, 18.5, 19, 19.5, 20, 20.5, 21, 21.5, 22, 22.5, 23,

23.5, 24, 24.5, 25, 25.5, 26, 26.5, 27, 27.5, 28, 28.5, 29, 29.5, or 30 wt.%. Non-limiting examples of fire-retardant compositions are described in Section F Fire Retardant Compositions of this specification. The thermoplastic polymer composition ( e.g ., second thermoplastic polymer) used to make the laminate layer can include 0 wt.% to 30 wt.%, preferably 10 wt.% to 25 wt.% or 15 wt.% to 20 wt.% or greater than or substantially equal to any one of, or between any two of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 wt.% of the fire-retardant composition, based on the total weight of the thermoplastic polymer composition. In one embodiment, the laminate includes more than one layer. An amount of fire-retardant material in the laminate containing multiple layers (e.g., 4 layers) can be from 0 to 10 wt.% of the fire- retardant composition. By way of example, the laminate can include 4 to 10 wt.% (or about 6 wt.%), based on the total weight of the layer, of the fire-retardant composition that includes zinc oxide and piperazine pyrophosphate.

[0035] Non-limiting examples of fibers include glass fibers, carbon fibers, aramid fibers, natural fibers, ceramic fibers, basalt fibers, steel fibers, and/or the like. Non-limiting examples of natural fibers include hemp, bamboo, flax, jute, cellulose, and the like. The layer can include, based on the total weight of the layer, 50 to 80 wt.% fibers, 50 to 75 wt.%, or greater than or substantially equal to any one of, or between any two of: 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, 75, 80 wt.% fibers. Fibers (e.g., 120) of a composite (e.g., 100, 200, or 300) may be provided in bundles (e.g., bundles of carbon, ceramic, carbon precursor, ceramic precursor, glass, and/or the like fibers). Such bundles may include any number of fibers, such as, for example, 400, 750, 800, 1,375, 1,000, 1,500, 3,000, 6,000, 12,000, 24,000, 50,000, 60,000, or more fibers. Fibers in a bundle can have an average filament diameter of 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 1 1, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, or more microns (e.g., from 5 to 30 microns, 10 to 20 microns, 12 to 15 microns, or any range there between). Fibers can be provided with a coating (e.g. a coating of an organic polymer, such as an organosilane), a pigment, and/or the like. Fibers can also be provided as a woven mat.

[0036] Optional coupling agents can be used when fibers such as glass or carbon fibers are used. Non-limiting examples of coupling agents include maleic anhydride grafted polyethylene, maleic anhydride grafted polypropylene, or a combination that includes at least one of the foregoing. The layer can include, based on the total weight of the layer, 0.1 to 2 wt.% coupling agent or greater than or substantially equal to any one of, or between any two of: 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.4, 0.5, 0.6, 0.7, 0.8, 0.9, 1, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, 1.8, 1.9, or 2 wt.% of coupling agent. The amount of polymer material can be adjusted when coupling agents are used.

[0037] In some embodiments, the laminate layer can optionally include additives such as antioxidants, heat stabilizers, flow modifiers, colorants, etc., or any combinations thereof. An amount of additives range from 0.01 to 0.1 wt.%, or 0.01, 0.02, 0.03, 0.04, 0.05, 0.06, 0.07, 0.08, 0.09, or 0.1 wt.% or any range or value there between. The amount of polymer material can be adjusted when coupling agents are used.

[0038] In a preferred embodiment, one laminate layer or multiple layer(s) can include, based on the total weight of the layer, 20 to 50 wt.% of polypropylene, 0 to 30 wt.% of a fire-retardant composition that includes zinc oxide and piperazine pyrophosphate, 50 to 80 wt.% of glass fibers, and 0.01 to 2 wt.% of a coupling agent. In another preferred embodiment, one layer or multiple laminate layers can include, based on the total weight of the layer, at 20 to 50 wt.% of polypropylene, 4 to 30 wt.%, a fire-retardant composition that includes zinc oxide and piperazine pyrophosphate, 50 to 80 wt.% of carbon fibers, and 0.01 to 2 wt.% of a coupling agent. In yet another preferred embodiment, one layer or multiple laminate layers can include, based on the total weight of the layer, 25 to 50 wt.% of polypropylene, 50 to 75 wt.% of carbon or glass fibers, and 0.01 to 2 wt.% of a coupling agent.

[0039] Layers used to produce the laminates can be obtained from commercial sources or manufactured. By way of example, one or more of the layers can be made by dispersing fibers in a polymer matrix as described in International Application Publication No. WO 2016/142786 to Prins etal ., which is incorporated by reference in its entirety. In such a method, a sheet or film that includes thermoplastic polymer and/or the fire-retardant composition can be supplied between a first and a second spreaded fiber layers. Heat can be applied to the fiber layer/polymer composition/fiber layer material, followed by pressing the fiber layers into the polymer composition. In some embodiments, after pressing is completed, the first or second fiber layers can be rubbed. In some embodiments, the fibers are not spread prior to heating. In another embodiment, the layers can be made by using known impregnation techniques. For example, Miller et al. in Polymers & Polymer Composites , 1996, Vol. 4, No. 7 describes impregnation techniques for thermoplastic matrix composites, which is incorporated by reference in its entirety. One such method can include providing suppling fibers to one or more solution baths ( e.g ., thermoplastic polymer and/or fire retardant composition in one or two baths) to form resin impregnated fibers, drying the fibers, and then pressing the fibers to produce a layer (e.g., prepreg sheets). In another embodiment, the polymer and fibers can be stacked together, heated, and then pressed causing the resin to flow transverse to the fibers to from prepreg sheets of reinforced thermoplastic materials.

[0040] Each of the layers can have a length and a width that is perpendicular to and smaller than the length, where the length and the width are each a distance between outer edges of the layer measured along a straight line. The length can be, but need not be, the largest such distance. Each of the layers can have a shape and dimensions that correspond to the shape and dimensions of laminate 104 or 106 and/or composite 100 and 200. To further illustrate, the largest face of each of the layers can have a surface area that is substantially equal to a surface area of the largest face of laminate 104 or 106. To yet further illustrate, each of the layers can be rectangular. In other embodiments, one or more layers of a laminate can have a shape and/or dimensions that differ from the shape and/or dimensions of the laminate; such layers can, for example, be used to add stiffness and strength to a portion of the laminate that is smaller than the entirety of the laminate.

[0041] Referring back to FIGS. IB and 1C composites 100 with four layers (layers 112, 112’, 114 and 114’) and six layers (layer 112, 114, 116, 118, 120, and 122), respectively are depicted. At least one layer can include a thermoplastic fire-retardant polymeric matrix or a thermoplastic polymeric matrix absent the fire-retardant composition having a plurality of fibers dispersed therein. Some embodiments of the present methods include producing a laminate (e.g., 104 or 106) at least by stacking two or more layers (e.g., including one or more of any layers described above in a 0/90 orientation). By way of example, at least 2 or 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 or more layers having a thickness of about 0.1 to 10 mm, or 0.25 to 5 mm can be stacked. During such stacking, any number of the laminates can be formed by placing sections (e.g., layers 112 and 114) of layer material, such as, for example, sections of unidirectional fiber layers, adjacent to one another. In some methods, the two or more layers include two or more unidirectional first layer and one or more unidirectional second layer, and the stacking is performed such that: (1) fibers of the first layer are aligned in a first direction; (2) fibers of the one or more second layer are aligned in a second direction that is perpendicular to the first direction; and (3) the one or more second layers are disposed in contact with one another and between two of the first layers.

[0042] Layers (e.g., 112, 112’, 114, 114’ 118, 120, 122, etc) that include fibers (e.g., fibers 124) can have a pre-consolidation fiber volume fraction (Vf) that is greater than or substantially equal to any one of, or between any two of: 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, 75, 80, 85, or 90%. In some embodiments of the present laminates, one or more layers may not include fibers; such layer can, for example, include a sheet of thermoplastic polymer material (e.g., polymer 126 in FIG. 1).

[0043] The laminates can be prepared using known lamination methods. It should be understood that laminates (e.g, laminates 104 and 106) can be made of layers having the same or different compositions. By way of example, layer 112, layer 112’, layer 114, and layer 114’ can each have a different composition or layers 112, 114, 114, 116, 118, 120, and 122 can have the same or different compositions. In another example, laminate 104 can be made of multiple layers where each layer have the same composition, while laminate 106 can be made of multiple layers where each layer have a composition different than the layer that make up laminate 104.

[0044] One or all of the layers (e.g, 112, 112’, 114, 114’, 116, 117, 118, 120, 122 etc.) can include fibers (e.g, fibers 124) dispersed within a matrix material or pressed into the polymer matrix material. By way of example, the laminates can be prepare using a double belt press with integrated contact heating and cooling supplied by, for example Meyer® (Maschinenfabrik, Herber Meyer GmbH, Germany). The different layers (e.g., layers 108 and 110) can enter the heat press unit in a defined stacking sequence at a rate of 1.5 m/min. The layer stack can be pressed together in a first zone at a pressure of 0.1 to 0.4 N/cm 2 , or (1 to 4 kPa, or 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5, 4 kPa or any value or range there between) and then heated to a temperature of 170 to 185 °C, (e.g, about 180 °C). The pressed stack can enter a second zone, pressed, and the heated to 190 to 200 °C (e.g, about 195 °C). The pressed stack can enter a third zone, be pressed at a lower temperature of 185 to 195 °C (e.g, about 190 °C) to form the laminate (e.g, laminate 104 and/or 106). Heating and cooling can be maintained without release of pressure. In some embodiments, a static heated press can be used. [0045] In laminate 104 and/or 106, each of layers ( e.g ., layers 112, 112’, 114, 114’, 116, 118, 120, 122, etc.) can be a unidirectional layer, or a layer having fibers (e.g., fibers 124), substantially all of which are aligned in a single direction. More particularly, in each of the layers, the fibers can be aligned with either the length of laminate 104/106 (e.g., layers 114, 114’ of FIG. IB each of which may be characterized as a 0-degree unidirectional layer) or the width of the laminate (e.g., layers 112 and 112’ of FIG. IB each of which may be characterized as a 90-degree unidirectional layer). The phrase, “aligned with” means within 10 degrees of parallel. Other embodiments of the present laminates can include one or more unidirectional layers, each having fibers that are aligned in any suitable direction. For example, a unidirectional layer can include fibers aligned in a direction, where the smallest angle between the direction and a length of a laminate including layer can be greater than or substantially equal to any one of, or between any two of: 0, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, 75, 80, 85, or 90 degrees.

[0046] Some embodiments of the present laminates can include one or more layers, each having fibers that define a woven structure (e.g., as in a layer having a plane, twill, satin, basket, leno, mock leno, or the like weave). For example, a layer can include a first set of fibers aligned in a first direction and a second set of fibers aligned in a second direction that is angularly disposed relative to the first direction, where the first set of fibers is woven with the second set of fibers. A smallest angle between first direction and second direction can be greater than or substantially equal to any one of, or between any two of: 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, 75, 80, 85, or 90 degrees. The smallest angle between first direction and a length of a laminate including such a layer can be greater than or substantially equal to any one of, or between any two of: 0, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, 75, 80, 85, or 90 degrees.

[0047] Some embodiments of the present laminate(s) can include one or more layers, each formed from sections of layer material. For example, a unidirectional layer can be formed from sections of unidirectional fiber material that has been placed adjacent to one another. To form such a layer, sections of layer material can be placed adjacent to one another manually and/or by an automated material laying machine.

[0048] Referring to FIG. 1C, 0-degree unidirectional layers and 90-degree unidirectional layers can be stacked such that the 0-degree unidirectional layers are in contact with one another (meaning each is in contact with at least one other) and are disposed between two of the 90-degree unidirectional layers. In some embodiments, laminates 104 and 106 can include first and second sub-stacks of 90-degree unidirectional layers and a third sub-stack of 0-degree unidirectional layers, where the third sub-stack is disposed between the first and second sub stacks. In laminates 104 and 106, each of the sub-stacks can include three layers. However, in other embodiments, such sub-stacks can each be replaced with a single layer or can include 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, or more layers. Other embodiments of the present laminates can include any suitable plies ( e.g ., including one or more of any layer described above) stacked in any suitable configuration (e.g., balanced, symmetric, asymmetric, and/or the like).

D. Fire-Retardant Film

[0049] The fire-retardant film can include a thermoplastic polymer (third thermoplastic polymer), a fire-retardant composition, and additives. In some embodiments, no additives are used. Thermoplastic polymers suitable for use in making the fire-retardant film can include thermoplastic polymers that are the same or different from the thermoplastic polymers used for the core and/or the laminates as long as it is compatible with the thermoplastic polymers used in the laminate. If the third thermoplastic polymer is not compatible materials can lead to poor physical properties (delamination) or chemical properties. Compatibility can be determined by assessing the degree of interfacial tension differences between the two polymer layers (e.g, the film layer and the laminate). Interfacial tension differences can be estimated quantitatively or through trial and error. Quantitative assessment can be based on like-like through Hildebrand or Hansen Solubility parameter calculations of the two polymers to be assessed (See, for example, International Application Publication No. WO 2019/038640 to Gunbas et al).

[0050] Non-limiting examples of the third thermoplastic polymer includes a polypropylene, polyethylene, PET, a PC, a PC copolymer, a polyimide, a PES, a poly(phenylene ether), PPO, or a poly(phenylene ether)/styrene blend, or a blend thereof. In a preferred embodiment, the layer includes polypropylene, more specifically polypropylene homopolymer. The film polypropylene can have a different molecular weight than the laminate polypropylene. In some embodiments, the film includes greater than or substantially equal to any one of, or any range of any two of: 59 wt.%, 60 wt.%, 65 wt.%, 70 wt.%, 75 wt.%, 80 wt.%, 85 wt.%, 90 wt.% or 95 wt.% of polymer, based on the total weight of the film.

[0051] The total amount of fire-retardant composition in the fire-retardant film can be 5 to 40 wt.%, preferably 15 to 30 wt.%, or greater than or substantially equal to any one of, or between any two of: 5, 5.5, 6, 6.5, 7, 7.5, 8, 8.5, 9, 9.5, 10, 10.5, 11, 11.5, 12, 12.5, 13, 13.5, 14, 14.5, 15, 15.5, 16, 16.5, 17, 17.7, 18, 18.5, 19, 19.5, 20, 20.5, 21, 21.5, 22, 22.5, 23, 23.5, 24, 24.5, 25, 25.5, 26, 26.5, 27, 27.5, 28, 28.5, 29, 29.5, 30, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, or 40 wt.%. In one embodiment, the layer contains 5 to 40 wt.% of the fire-retardant composition that includes a metal oxide and a nitrogen-phosphorous compound. Non-limiting examples of fire-retardant compositions are described in Section F Fire Retardant Compositions of this specification. By way of example, the fire-retardant film can include 5 to 40 wt.% (or about 20 wt.%), based on the total weight of the layer, of the fire-retardant composition that includes zinc oxide and piperazine pyrophosphate. In some embodiments, the fire-retardant laminate includes less fire- retardant composition than the fire-retardant film. For example, the fire-retardant laminate can include 4 wt.% to 10 wt.%, based on the total weight of the fire-retardant laminate and the fire retardant film can include 15 to 40 wt.%, based on the total weight of the fire-retardant film. In a preferred instance, the same fire-retardant composition is used in the fire-retardant film and the fire-retardant laminate. In another instance, the same fire-retardant composition is used in the fire-retardant film, the fire-retardant adherent and the fire-retardant laminate.

[0052] In some embodiments, fire-retardant film can include additives such as antioxidants, heat stabilizers, flow modifiers, acid scavengers, colorants, etc., or any combinations thereof. An amount of additives range from 0 to 1 wt.%, or 0, 0.01, 0.02, 0.03, 0.04, 0.05, 0.06, 0.07, 0.08, 0.09, 0.1, 0.5, or 1 wt.% or any range or value there between.

[0053] The fire-retardant film can be made using known film making methodology. For example, a composition of thermoplastic polymer, fire-retardant composition, and optional additives can be added to an extruder blending tank and extruded using a extruder ( e.g a twin- screw extruder) to a desired thickness. Fire-retardant films can also be obtained from commercial sources such as SABIC.

E. Adherent Layer

[0054] In some instances, an adherent layer (tie layer) can be used between the laminate and the core. The adherent layer can include an optional third fire-retardant composition. An amount of fire retardant composition, based on the weight of the adherent layer can be 0 wt.% to 40 wt.% or greater than one of, equal to one of, or between any two of 0, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40 wt.%. Non-limiting examples of fire-retardant compositions are described in Section F Fire Retardant Compositions of this specification. The reminder of the adherent layer can be adherent material and optional additive. An amount of adherent material, based on the weight of the adherent layer, can be 60 wt.% to 100 wt.% or greater than one of, equal to one of, or between any two of 60, 65, 70, 75, 80, 85, 90, 95, 100 wt.%. Non-limiting examples of adherent material can include ethylene vinyl acetate, polypropylene, polypropylene-polyethylene terephthalate blends, acrylics, nitriles, silicone rubbers, styrene-butadiene- styrene copolymers, styrene-ethylene/butylene-styrene copolymers, styrene-ethylene/propylene copolymers, styrene-isoprene-styrene copolymers, or a combination thereof. In a preferred instance, the adherent material is the same material as the fire-retardant film.

F. Fire Retardant Compositions

[0055] Fire-retardant compositions used in the laminate, the fire-retardant film, the fire- retardant adherent layer, or a combination thereof can include or more compounds known to inhibit or delay the spread of fire and/or reduce the flammability of the composition. In a particular embodiment, the fire-retardant composition is an intumescent fire-retardant, which inhibits or delays the spread of a fire. Non-limiting examples of fire-retardants include nitrogen-phosphorus compounds, phosphoric acid, metal oxides, metal phosphates organo- phosphorus compounds, nitrogen-containing polymers, talc, sulfonates or salts thereof, silica, hydrated oxides, organic polymers, nanoclays, organoclay, organic polymers, silicon- phosphorous-nitrogen compounds, and mixtures thereof. Non-limiting examples of metal phosphates include calcium phosphate, and magnesium phosphate. Non-limiting examples of hydrated oxides include calcium hydroxide, magnesium hydroxide. Non limited examples of metal oxides include titanium oxide, aluminum oxide, zinc oxide, iron oxide, magnesium oxide, calcium oxide, and the like.

[0056] Non-limiting examples of nitrogen-phosphorus fire-retardant compounds include a nitrogen-containing phosphate, a nitrogen-containing polyphosphate, ammonium phosphate, ammonium pyrophosphate, piperazine pyrophosphate, piperazine polyphosphate, melamine pyrophosphate, melamine orthophosphate, dimelamine orthophosphate, melamine polyphosphate, bis(melaminum) salt of pentaerythritol spirobisphosphate, or a combination thereof. The term “phosphate” refers to a salt or ester of a phosphoric acid. The term “pyrophosphate” refers to phosphate PCri structural units linked together by an oxygen atom. The term “polyphosphate” refers to a salt or ester of a polymeric oxyanion formed from three of more phosphate (PCri) structural units linked together by sharing oxygen atoms. In the above compounds the term "melamine" or "piperazine" in the phosphoric acid salt compound and the polyphosphoric acid salt by N,N.N',N'-tetramethyldiaminomethane, ethylenediamine, N,N'- dimethylethylenediamine, N,N'-diethylethylenediamine, N,N-dimethylethylenediamine, N,N- di ethyl ethyl enedi amine, N,N,N',N' -tetram ethyl ethyl enedi amine, N,N,N' ,N' - diethylethylenediamine, 1,2-propanediamine, 1,3-propanediamine, tetram ethylenediamine, pentamethylenediamine, hexamethylenediamine, 1,7-diaminoheptane, 1,8-diaminooctane, 1,9- diaminononane, 1,10-diaminodecane, trans-2,5-dimethylpiperazine, l,4-bis(2- aminoethyl)piperazine, l,4-bis(3-aminopropyl)piperazine, acetoguanamine, benzoguanamine, acrylic guanamine, 2,4-diamino-6-nonyl-l,3,5-triazine, 2,4-diamino-6-hydroxy-l,3,5-triazine, 2-amino-4,6-dihydroxy-l,3,5-triazine. 2,4-diamino-6-methoxy-l,3,5-triazine, 2,4-diamino-6- ethoxy-l,3,5-triazine, 2,4-diamino-6-propoxy-l,3,5-triazine, 2,4-diamino-6-isopropoxy-l,3,5- triazine, 2,4-diamino-6-mercapto-l,3,5-triazine, 2-amino-4,6-dimercapto-l,3,5-triazine, ammeline, phthalodiguanamine, melamine cyanurate, melamine pyrophosphate, butylenediguanamine, norbornenediguanamine, methylenediguanamine, ethylenedimelamine, trimethylenedimelamine, tetram ethylenedimelamine, hexamethylenedimelamine, or 1,3- hexylenedimelamine. Nitrogen-phosphorus fire-retardant compounds and/or compositions are described in U.S. Patent No. 7,803,856 to Perego et al ., U.S. Patent Application Publ. Nos. 2013/0248783 to Zhu et al. , and 2016/0244600 to Kurokawa, or can be obtained from commercial sources such as Adeka Palmarole (Japan) under the tradenames ADK STAB FP- 2100JC, ADK STAB FP-2200S and ADK STAB FP-2500S. In a preferred embodiment, zinc oxide is used. Non-limiting examples of nitrogen-containing polymers include poly(2,4- piperazinyl-6-morpholinyl-l,3,5-triazine), poly(2,4-piperazinyl-6-morpholinyl-l,3,5-triazine).

[0057] Non-limiting examples of phosphates include trimethyl phosphate, triethyl phosphate, tributyl phosphate, tri(2-ethylhexyl) phosphate, tributoxyethyl phosphate, monoisodecyl phosphate, 2-acryloyloxyethyl phosphate, trixylenyl phosphate, tris(2- phenylphenyl) phosphate, trinaphthyl phosphate, cresyldiphenyl phosphate, xylenyldiphenyl phosphate, diphenyl-2-methacrylolyloxyethyl phosphate, resorcinol bis(diphenyl phosphate), resorcinol bis(dixylenyl phosphate), resorcinol bis(dicresyl phosphate), hydroquinone bis(dixylenyl phosphate), bisphenol A bis(diphenyl phosphate), tetrakis(2,6-dimethylphenyl) 1,3-phenylenebisphosphate, pentaerythritol phosphate alcohol, oligomeric ethyl ethylene phosphate, tricresyl phosphate, trixylenyl phosphate, isopropylphenyl phosphate, tert- butylphenyl diphenyl phosphate, 2-ethylhexyl diphenyl phosphate, isodecyl diphenyl phosphate, butyl diphenyl phosphate, dibutyl phenyl phosphate, tributyl phosphate, tetraphenyl resorcinol diphosphate, and tetraphenyl bisphenol-A diphosphate.

[0058] In one embodiment, the fire-retardant composition can include a metal oxide ( e.g zinc oxide) and a nitrogen-phosphorous compound. The nitrogen-phosphorous compound can be at least one of melamine pyrophosphate, piperazine pyrophosphate, and ammonium polyphosphate. G. Compliance Standards

[0059] The composites of the present invention can be compliant with vehicle and/or rail transportation standards. ( e.g ECE Regulation 118, Annex 7 (2005) + Rev. 2 - amendment 1 (2018) and Annex 8 (2005) + Rev. 2 - amendment 1 (2018), EN ISO 9239-1, EN 45545-2; Rl, R6, R10 (HL2, HL3), TB/T (TB, TBT), NFPA 130, ASTM E662 and ASTM E162, Chinese standard TB/T or the International Union of Railways standard UIC 564). In an embodiment, the non- structural components meet certain criteria set forth in European Railway standard EN- 45545 (2013). The European Union has approved the introduction of a set of fire testing standards for the railroad and vehicle industry that includes flammability, flame spread rate, heat release, smoke emission, and smoke toxicity requirements for materials used in railway vehicles, known as European Railway standard EN-45545 (2013). Based on the vehicle material, end-use, and fire risks, 26 different “Requirement” categories for materials have been established (R1-R26). The Rl, R2, R5, R10, Rl l cover, among others, interior vertical surfaces, such as side walls, front walls, end-walls, partitions, room dividers, flaps, boxes, hoods and louvres; interior doors and linings for internal and external doors; window insulations, kitchen interior surfaces, interior horizontal surfaces, such as ceiling paneling, flaps, boxes, hoods and louvres; luggage storage areas, such as overhead and vertical luggage racks, luggage containers and compartments; driver’s desk applications, such as paneling and surfaces of driver’s desk, interior surfaces of gangways, such as interior sides of gangway membranes (bellows) and interior linings; window frames (including sealants and gaskets), tables(folding) with downward facing surface; interior and exterior surface of air ducts, and devices for passenger information (such as information display screens) and the like. The composites, laminates, and/or layers of the present invention can meet the requirements for HL3 for R10 applications. R6, R8 and R7 cover interior surface of gangways, external body shell (wall and underframe) external exterior ducts, external design features, outer surface of water containers placed in the underframe, bogie part, air bags for pneumatic suspension, cable containment for exterior, arc splash barrier materials, parts of the drive, tires, flexible metal/rubber unit including element in bogies.

[0060] As shown in a non-limiting manner in the Example section, the fire-retardant composites of the present invention pass ANNEX 7 (melting behavior of the materials) and ANNEX 8 (vertical burning behavior of the materials) of the ECE R No. 118 and flame spread test EN ISO 9239-1. The composites of the present invention have a HL1 value of 4.5 to 6, a HL2 value of higher than 6 but less than 8, and a HL3 value greater than 8. The composites of the present invention have a smoke density of D s Max < 10 min of 150, and a smoke toxicity CITg Max of 0.75, according to ISO 5659-2.

[0061] ISO 9239-1:2010 specifies a method for assessing the wind-opposed burning behavior and spread of flame of horizontally mounted floorings exposed to a heat flux radiant gradient in a test chamber, when ignited with pilot flames.

[0062] The composites, laminates, and/or layers of the present invention can be used meet NFPA 130 (2010 edition) for interior applications used in the United States rail transportation vehicles. This standard imposes requirements on rate of smoke generation and surface flammability. The generation of smoke is measured via ASTM E662-12 smoke density test and the requirements are a preferred smoke density after 1.5 min (Ds 1.5) of 100 and less and a preferred smoke density after 4 min (Ds 4) of 200 and less, in either flaming or non-flaming mode. Surface flammability is measured via the ASTM E162-12a flame spread test and the requirements are a maximum flame spread index (Is) of 35 and less, and no flaming running or dripping allowed. It is calculated from multiplying the flame spread factor (Fs) and the heat evolution factor (Q) determined during the test. The railway components described herein can also meet these standards.

[0063] The following includes definitions of various terms and phrases used throughout this specification.

[0064] The terms “about” or “approximately” are defined as being close to as understood by one of ordinary skill in the art. In one non-limiting embodiment, the terms are defined to be within 10%, preferably within 5%, more preferably within 1%, and most preferably within 0.5%.

[0065] The terms “wt.%”, “vol.%”, or “mol.%” refers to a weight, volume, or molar percentage of a component, respectively, based on the total weight, the total volume of material, or total moles, that includes the component. In a non-limiting example, 10 grams of component in 100 grams of the material is 10 wt.% of component.

[0066] The term “substantially” and its variations are defined to include ranges within 10%, within 5%, within 1%, or within 0.5%.

[0067] The terms “inhibiting” or “reducing” or “preventing” or “avoiding” or any variation of these terms, when used in the claims and/or the specification includes any measurable decrease or complete inhibition to achieve a desired result. [0068] The term “effective,” as that term is used in the specification and/or claims, means adequate to accomplish a desired, expected, or intended result.

[0069] The use of the words “a” or “an” when used in conjunction with any of the terms “comprising,” “including,” “containing,” or “having” in the claims, or the specification, may mean “one,” but it is also consistent with the meaning of “one or more,” “at least one,” and “one or more than one.”

[0070] The words “comprising” (and any form of comprising, such as “comprise” and “comprises”), “having” (and any form of having, such as “have” and “has”), “including” (and any form of including, such as “includes” and “include”) or “containing” (and any form of containing, such as “contains” and “contain”) are inclusive or open-ended and do not exclude additional, unrecited elements or method steps.

[0071] The fire-retardant composites of the present invention can “comprise,” “consist essentially of,” or “consist of ’ particular ingredients, components, compositions, etc. disclosed throughout the specification. With respect to the transitional phase “consisting essentially of,” in one non-limiting aspect, a basic and novel characteristic of the thermoplastic fire-retardant composites of the present invention are their abilities to be compliant with respect to interior rail or vehicle transportation fire-retardant standards.

EXAMPLES

[0072] The present invention will be described in greater detail by way of specific examples. The following examples are offered for illustrative purposes only, and are not intended to limit the invention in any manner. Those of skill in the art will readily recognize a variety of noncritical parameters which can be changed or modified to yield essentially the same results.

Example 1

(Fire-Retardant Composites)

[0073] The fire-retardant laminate layers were made from a resin composition of polypropylene (79.8 wt.%), a nitrogen-phosphorus fire retardant (20 wt.%) and the balance being stabilizers (0.2 wt.%). The resin was formed into layers having a composition of the polypropylene (23.22 wt.%), the nitrogen-phosphorus fire retardant (5.82 wt.%), stabilizers (0.06 wt.%), glass fibers (70 wt.%) and coupling agent (0.9 wt.%). The layers were made into 4 layered laminates using a double belt press manufactured by Meyer® (Maschinenfabrik, Herber Meyer GmbH, Germany). The double belt press parameters were 1.5 m/min, zone 1 temperature about 180 to 190 °C, zone 2 temperature about, 195 to 200 °C, zone 3 temperature 195 to 220 °C, pressure 0.3 N/cm 2 (3 kPa).

[0074] The fire-retardant laminates were consolidated with a PET foam core (15 mm, Divinylcell P; Diab Group, Sweden), a fire-retardant adhesive film positioned between the core and laminates, and a fire-retardant outer layer films. Each fire-retardant adhesive film and each fire-retardant outer layer films all having a composition of polypropylene (about 79.8 wt.%), the nitrogen-phosphorus fire retardant (20 wt.%) used in the laminate, and additives (0.2 wt.%).

[0075] The materials were consolidated using a double belt press manufactured by Meyer® (Maschinenfabrik, Herber Meyer GmbH, Germany). The double belt press parameters were 1.5 m/min, zone 1 temperature about 190 °C, zone 2 temperature about, 200 °C, zone 3 temperature 210 °C, pressure 0.3 N/cm 2 (3 kPa) to produce composites Bl, B2, and B4. The layering of the inventive samples are listed in Table 1.

Example 2

(Non-Fire-Retardant Laminate Composite)

[0076] Fire-retardant composite sample B3 was made in the same manner as the composites of Example 1, except a non-fire-retardant (non-FR) laminate layers were obtained from a commercial source ( e.g SABIC-FRT). The non-FR laminates were consolidated with aPET foam core (15 mm, Divinylcell P150; Diab Group, Sweden) and a fire-retardant adhesive film positioned between the core and each laminate, and a fire-retardant outer layer film positioned on the outer surface of each laminate. Each fire-retardant adhesive film and each outer layer film had a composition of polypropylene (79.8 wt.%), the nitrogen-phosphorus fire retardant (20 wt.%), additives (0.2 wt.%).

[0077] The materials were consolidated using a double belt press manufactured by Meyer® (Maschinenfabrik, Herber Meyer GmbH, Germany). The double belt press parameters were 1.5 m/min, zone 1 temperature about 190 °C, zone 2 temperature about, 200 °C, zone 3 temperature 210 °C, pressure 0.3 N/cm 2 (3 kPa). The layering of the inventive samples are listed in Table 1.

Example 3

(Comparative Samples 1 and 2)

[0078] Comparative samples 1 and 2 were made in the same manner as Example 1 above, except that no fire-retardant film was used as an outer layer. The layering of the comparative samples are listed in Table 1. Table 1

Example 4

(Fire-Retardant Testing of Sandwich Panel Composites of the Present Invention) [0079] Compliancy tests for the vehicle transportation was performed using ECE Reg. number 118 Annex 7 and Annex 8 testing, and EN45545-2, RIO flame spread performance. Table 2 lists the results of the tests. Samples B4 and C2 were tested by Currenta and Crepim fire laboratories for compliancy for EN45545-2, RIO and the test results are listed in Table 3.

Table 2

Table 3

[0080] From the data, it was determined that the composites of the present invention passed

HL3 level according EN45545-2, R10 in flame spread performance and the ECE Reg. number 118 Annex 7 and Annex 8.

[0081] Although embodiments of the present application and their advantages have been described in detail, it should be understood that various changes, substitutions and alterations can be made herein without departing from the spirit and scope of the embodiments as defined by the appended claims. Moreover, the scope of the present application is not intended to be limited to the particular embodiments of the process, machine, manufacture, composition of matter, means, methods and steps described in the specification. As one of ordinary skill in the art will readily appreciate from the above disclosure, processes, machines, manufacture, compositions of matter, means, methods, or steps, presently existing or later to be developed that perform substantially the same function or achieve substantially the same result as the corresponding embodiments described herein can be utilized. Accordingly, the appended claims are intended to include within their scope such processes, machines, manufacture, compositions of matter, means, methods, or steps.