College - Author 1

College of Engineering

Department - Author 1

Materials Engineering Department

Degree Name - Author 1

BS in Materials Engineering



Primary Advisor

Jean Lee, College of Engineering, Materials Engineering Department


An increased frequency of fires in California motivates the development of fire damage mitigation strategies, including environmentally-friendly fire-resistant materials. A novel succulent-inspired sandwich composite consisting of HardiePlank (a cement-fiber composite), waxed paper, cardboard, paper, and mucilage (here labeled HPWM) is proposed. Sample manufacturing considerations were investigated, and the resulting composite design was evaluated for aging, mechanical, and flammability performance. Variability in sample manufacturing was assessed by measurements of sample weight before and after applying mucilage. Thermogravimetric analysis was conducted on sample materials to better understand thermal degradation. HPWM samples using two different types of waxed paper (soy wax, beeswax) were exposed to an outdoor environment and evaluated for aging behavior via water loss by weighing the samples over time. Structural integrity for the same variants was assessed by three-point bend testing. To characterize flammability, cone calorimeter testing was conducted on beeswax HPWM samples in covered/uncovered and dry/wet states (four variants) with timber used as a control; mass loss and qualitative characteristics were recorded. Beeswax provided superior water retention to soy wax under exposure to an outdoors environment. HardiePlank provided exceptional flammability resistance, and the incorporation of mucilage in the sample structure halted propagation of fire after initial ignition of the waxed paper layer, demonstrating favorable fire performance. Further development of evaluation methods and improvement in structural integrity of HPWM is required.