NIST Time|NIST Home|About NIST|Contact NIST

HomeAll Years:AuthorKeywordTitle2005-2010:AuthorKeywordTitle

Generation of CO in Bench-Scale Fire Tests and the Prediction for Real-Scale Fires.

pdf icon Generation of CO in Bench-Scale Fire Tests and the Prediction for Real-Scale Fires. (966 K)
Babrauskas, V.

Interscience Communications Limited. Fire and Materials. International Conference, 1st. September 24-25, 1992, Arlington, VA, 155-177 pp, 1992.


carbon monoxide; cone calorimeters; fire hazard; toxicity; room fires; fire tests; scaling


Carbon monoxide (CO) is the single most important factor associated with deaths in fires; thus, predictions of CO developed in fires is an essential aspect of fire quantification. It is considered crucial to have correct CO prediction methods for post-flashover fire stages, since, in the United States at least, the majority of fire deaths are associated with fires which have gone to flashover. In this paper, it is shown that the yields of CO observed in real-scale fires are generally not related to either the chemical nature of the material being burned nor to the yield observed for the same material in bench-scale testing. Instead, the generation of CO in real-scale fires is determined largely according to the oxygen available for combustion, with thermal conditions of the fire plume also playing a significant role. This behavior is in sharp contrast to many other material fire properties, including yeilds of gases such as CO2 and HCl, which can be predicted for real-scale fires from bench-scale results. Finally, results from various studies completed thus far indicate how effective prediction of real-scale CO yields may be accomplished. While bench-scale measurements are not necessary to predict real-scale CO, bench-scale toxic potency measurements can be in error if the CO component in them does not reflect on the real-scale CO yield. Thus, a method is developed whereby the bench-scale toxic potency measurements can be computationally corrected to better approximate the toxic potencies measured in real-scale, post-flashover room fires. These techniques will, undoubtedly, be further refined as additonal experimental results become available.