Heat release rates of modern residential furnishings during combustion in a room calorimeter

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DOIResolve DOI: http://doi.org/10.1002/fam.2259
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Journal titleFire and Materials
AbstractResults are presented from a number of fire experiments that were conducted in a room environment to study the fire characteristics of typical residential furnishings and assist in the design of a subsequent phase of a project involving fully furnished room fire experiments. The experiments were conducted in a 16-m2 test room (with dimensions 3.8m wide×4.2m long×2.4m high), which had a 1.5×1.5-m window opening. The furnishings tested included mattresses, bed clothes, bed assemblies, upholstered seating furniture, clothing arrangements, books, plastic audio/video media and storage cases, toys, shoes, and a computer workstation setup. The smoke (gaseous products of combustion) from the room was collected using a hood system in order to measure the heat release rate (HRR) and optical density of the smoke. The test room was instrumented with load cells, heat flux gauges, thermocouples and velocity probes in order to take the following measurements: mass loss, total heat flux on gauge-installed flush with the internal surfaces (floor, walls, and ceiling), temperatures at numerous locations, and gas velocities in the window opening. Twin-size mattresses produced peak HRRs of approximately 3800kW, and the maximum room temperature was approximately 980°C. The HRRs of bed assemblies of various sizes and configurations ranged from 1800kW for a twin-size bed to 6250kW for a bunk bed. The maximum temperature and heat flux recorded in the experiments were 1071°C and 221kW/m2, respectively. Upholstered chairs and sofas had HRRs ranging from 630kW for an ottoman to 3360kW for a two-seat sofa. In tests with clothing, toys, shoes, books, a computer workstation, and CD/DVD media, the peak HRRs ranged from 440kW for a bookcase to 2045kW for toys. Furnishings containing a large proportion of rigid thermoplastic plastics, such as shoes and media cases, produced very dense smoke even at low HRRs. The effect of parameters such as bed clothes, mattress type, foundation type, bed assembly and chair size, material composition, and fuel package arrangement was evident in the results. Because the room dimensions and wall lining materials remained constant, temperatures were linearly proportional to the peak HRR (and exposure time) until the ventilation limit (approximately 4100kW) was reached. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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AffiliationNational Research Council Canada (NRC-CNRC); Construction (CONST-CONST)
Peer reviewedYes
NPARC number21272280
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Record identifier0b2c5503-4545-4460-b509-f954e62eb2a5
Record created2014-07-23
Record modified2016-05-09
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