Combustion of Chemical Substances and the Impact on the Environment of the Fire Products: 1/3 Scale Room Furnace Experiments

Research output: Book/ReportReport


This report describes the results obtained from fire tests in a 1/3-scale room. The aim of
the study was to investigate how changes in external radiation and oxygen supply affect
the production of smoke and toxic gases. The ventilation was varied to simulate under- and well-ventilated fires. The thermal exposure to the materials was varied to simulate fires of different sizes. Fifty-nine tests were performed, with polystyrene, FR polystyrene, polypropylene, nylon and PVC. Measurements were made of the contents of O2, CO2, CO, NOx, and HC in the exhaust gases. The impact of external radiation was mainly to increase the pyrolysis rate, and thus the rate of heat release, and to drive the fire into under-ventilation. The degree of ventilation proved to have the greatest impact on the combustion efficiency. The smoke production was almost constant for polypropylene and nylon. The CO production appeared to be the most complex of the parameters to describe, and the expected increase in CO yield at low yields of CO2 could not be seen. The generation of NOx was low for the two substances without chemically bound nitrogen, but for nylon, the generation was significant. The production of low molecular weight HC was essentially constant for all three materials. Almost all the carbon was recovered in wellventilated fires, but at under-ventilated conditions, only 30% of the carbon from the he1 was detected. The toxic potency of the exhaust gases was estimated using the N-gas model, and proved to be relatively low. Lack of oxygen and the production of carbon oxide had the greatest impact on the toxicity for polystyrene and polypropylene, while NO, represented the main part for nylon. The survival fraction and the decomposition products from the original materials are not considered in the model. It can therefore not be assumed that the model reflects all aspects of the toxicity problem.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Other Civil Engineering
  • Building Technologies
Original languageEnglish
PublisherDepartment of Fire Safety Engineering and Systems Safety, Lund University
Number of pages35
Publication statusPublished - 1994
Publication categoryResearch

Publication series

ISSN (Print)1102-8246

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