Reaction to fire performance of wood and other building products

University dissertation from Stockholm : Byggvetenskap

Abstract: The theme of this thesis is the reaction to fire performanceof wood and other building products, andparticularly thematerial fire properties time to ignition, rate of heat releaseand smoke production. These properties have been measured by asmall-scale fire test method, the Cone Calorimeter, andpresented for different types of building products.Uncertainty analysis, included instrument and assumptionuncertainty, has been performed for the case that both O2 andCO2 are measured for calculation of the rate of heat release inthe Cone Calorimeter. The partial derivatives for theuncertainty analysis are given. The relative uncertainty forthe rate of heat release measurements in the Cone Calorimeteris between ±5% to ±10% for rate of heat releasevalues larger than about 50 kW/m2.The time to ignition in the Cone Calorimeter is compatiblewith the time to ignition in the ISO Ignitability test, whichis the main test method for measuring time to ignition. Thetime to ignition is an increasing linear function of density.The rate of heat release in the Cone Calorimeter is dependentof material thickness and of use of retainer frame. Thematerial thickness gives the heat release curve duration andshape. Thin materials have short burning time and two maximumvalues. Thick materials have long burning time and when thematerial is thicker than about 35 mm no second maximum appears.When the retainer frame is used the actual exposed surface isreduced from 0.01 m2 to 0.0088 m2, the rate of heat release isreduced and the burning time is increased. A comparison ofresults with and without use of the retainer frame gives thenequal results when the exposed area is set to 0.0088 m2 in thecase of using the retainer frame.The time to flashover in the full-scale room corner test waspredicted on the basis of Cone Calorimeter data at 50 kW/m2 bya power law of ignition time, the total heat release calculatedover 300 s after ignition and the density of the product. Therelation gives a simple relation to evaluate if a productreaches flashover in the room corner test.The smoke production has also been measured in the ConeCalorimeter. The white light and the laser smoke measurementsystems have shown similar results. There is a correlationbetween Cone Calorimeter and room corner test smoke productionwhen the products are divided into groups: those that reachflashover in the room corner test in less than 10 min and thosethat have more than 10 min to flashover. Temperature profilesin wood have been measured in the Cone Calorimeter by a simpletechnique. The effect of fire protective gypsum plasterboardson the charring of wood frame members has been determined andcompared with fullscale furnace wall tests. The protectiveeffects of twenty different boards have been presented. ConeCalorimeter and furnace tests show similar charring of wooduntil the boards fall down in furnace tests. After that, thecharring of wood is higher in the furnace, because the wood isexposed directly to the fire.Keywords:building products, charring of wood, ConeCalorimeter, fire retardant treated wood, fire tests,ignitability, mass loss, rate of heat release, reaction tofire, smoke production, wood products