Fire-retardant resin and composites help build mainland China’s first Disneyland

Fire-retardant resins and composite materials have played an important role in the construction of the new Shanghai Disney Resort, which opened its doors to the public two days ago.

One of the six theme lands, TomorrowLand, has used UK-based chemical firm Scott Bader’s Crestapol resin and Crystic fire-retardant gelcoat. According to Scott Bader, extensive sections of the interior and exterior of the buildings and rides, covering an area of more than 2,300 sq metres, were constructed from gelcoated fibreglass-reinforced plastic (FRP) composite parts.

Composites fabricator EverGrow International (E-Grow) manufactured the components with a fire approved laminate system comprising of Scott Bader’s Crestapol 1212 high performance ATH filled urethane acrylate resin, with the fire retardant pre-accelerated Iso-NPG polyester gelcoat Crystic 967 FR.

The parts included facades, passenger sections of the Tron roller coaster, parts of the Buzz Lightyear ride, the Lilo & Stitch Theatre, outdoor dining furniture and exterior cladding on the concourse and surrounding facilities.

In order to cost-effectively produce all of the different sizes and shapes, E-Grow used a patented wax mould process. Using a 3D CAM file, individual plugs are CNC milled directly from wax blocks.

The wax plugs, which include surface texture and design details, are then used to cast large gypsum-based mould tools for the hand lay-up process. Once all the FRP parts are produced, the wax plug is melted down and reused.

All FRP used in the park had to meet the Chinese B1 ‘reaction to fire’ classification for fully assembled composite parts, Scott Bader said, as stipulated and tested by the Chinese National Inspection and Testing Centre for Building and Engineering Materials. Disney also required that all gelcoat must be fire-resistant and match the paint system.

Scott Bader’s Asia Pacific team in Shanghai managed all the inventory and supply chain logistics from the company’s production plants in the UK for the Crestapol resin, and in Dubai, UAE, for the eight custom colours of the high performance fire retardant Crystic gelcoat.


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