Cone Calorimetry Takes Center Stage in Evaluating Fire Retardancy of Wood Products
The cone calorimeter has become the preeminent fire test method for developing wood-based products since it was shown in 2002 to be applicable to combustion of wood volatiles and char in a realistic fire scenario of wood products treated with fire retardant. Researchers are using the equipment to evaluate the fire performance of wood products.
The cone calorimeter has become the preeminent fire test method for developing wood-based products since it was shown in 2002 to be applicable to combustion of wood volatiles and char in a realistic fire scenario of fire retardant treated (FRT) wood products.
Evaluations of cone calorimeter tests are now documented in Chapter 18: Fire Safety of Wood Construction of 2010 edition of Wood Handbook: Wood as an Engineering Material and Chapter 6: Thermal Properties, Combustion, and Fire Retardancy of Wood in the recently reissued Handbook of Wood Chemistry and Wood Composites. For these handbooks, standard tests were adequate to determine the benefits of common FRT wood products, whereas innovative and nonstandard testing that involves hardware and gas analysis upgrades were needed for special fire retardancy situations.
In the most recent study, conducted in collaboration with Hamburg University of Germany, a commercial FRT intumescent veneer adhered to both surfaces of an innovative foam core particleboard was found at to significantly reduce the heat-release-rate profile while exposed to 50 kilowatts per square meter irradiance with piloted ignition to predict a Class A fire performance. Advanced gas analysis along with thermocouples embedded in various depths of the sample, were also used to explain how the improved fire performance was achieved.
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