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Burning of Wood and Plastic Cribs in an Enclosure. Final Report. Volume 1 and Volume 2.

pdf icon Burning of Wood and Plastic Cribs in an Enclosure. Final Report. Volume 1 and Volume 2. (30547 K)
Quintiere, J. G.; McCaffrey, B. J.

NBSIR 80-2054; 202 p. November 1980.


Products Research Committee, Washington, DC

Available from:

National Technical Information Service
Order number: PB81-182586


crib fires; experiments; mathematical model; plastic; polyurethane; room fires; pyrolysis rate; wood


This study was designed to assess the fire hazard of a cellular plastic material which has comparable structural characteristics to wood. The study attempts to determine the relative fire risk of such materials in furniture. Rigid (high density) structural polyurethane foam and supar pine were selected for fuels and burned in the form of cribs in a room. The crib loading and door width were parameters experimentally varied. Twenty-one room fire experiments and eight free burn experiments were conducted. Measurements of mass loss, temperature, heat flux, CO2 and O2 concentration were recorded. These data were analyzed and empirical correlations were developed for air flow rate and upper gas temperature. A theoretical fire simulation model was developed and yielded results in fair to good agreement with the data. An extrapolation with the theoretical model was used to predict the critical (or minimum) fuel pyrolysis rate to cause flashover (as implied by 2 W/cm(2) of incident radiation to the room floor). This was done for various size rooms and door openings. It appears that to cause flashover, for a given room and door size, about twice as much wood must be involved in fire as the rigid polyurethane material.