Carbon nanofiber (CNF) papers, when incorporated onto the surface of glass fiber reinforced polyester composites, were known to enhance the fire-retarding capability by decreasing the peak heat release rate (PHRR) and slowing down the mass loss. In this experimental study, attempts were made to understand the thermal degradation mechanisms of the composites and nanocomposites. The temperature distribution within the composite substrate should be determined because the degradation rate is related to the temperature. The composite was prepared through vacuum-assisted resin transfer molding (VARTM) process. Samples of glass-polyester resin composites were investigated. Thermal conductivity data was calculated from embedded thermocouples on the composite for real-time temperature measurement. Mass loss data was collected using thermal gravimetric analysis on resin and CNF paper samples. These results should help to further understand the depth and degree of the degradation and provide an understanding of thermal properties in composites.

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