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Behavior of Charring Materials in Simulated Fire Environments. Final Project Report. 1990-1992.

pdf icon Behavior of Charring Materials in Simulated Fire Environments. Final Project Report. 1990-1992. (21347 K)
Suuberg, E. M.; Milosavljevic, I.; Lilly, W. D.

NIST GCR 94-645; 651 p. June 1994.


National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD

Available from:

National Technical Information Service
Order number: PB94-196045


char; cellulose; cellulosic materials; char depth; fire research; model studies; pyrolysis


The focus of this study was the behavior of thick charring solids in fire situations. Clearly one of the most important parameters governing the fire phenomenon is the rate of release of combustible volatiles into the gas phase, in which they actually burn. Over the years, fire researchers have learned how to model the processes in the gas phase, so that the rate of heat feedback to the solid surface can be reasonably well predicted. Likewise, there exists the ability to model the heat transfer processes at the solid surface and within the solid itself. Finally, there is a large literature on the laboratory-scale pyrolysis of various charring polymers. It might appear that predicting the course of the fire would involve carefully coupling these different models together. There have unfortunately not been any successful demonstrations of the ability to do this, though in broad stroke, some models capture the key features of the processes. This study was concerned with the possibility that the inability to come to complete closure on the charring polymer fire problem might derive from difficulties in applying laboratory scale kinetics to actual fire conditions. Specifically, we were concerned about how well small scale laboratory experiments used to derive the kinetics of pyrolysis could be used to predict the behavior of charring solids in fire situations.