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Residential Upholstered Furniture Flammability

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Presentation by UL on fire resistance technologies currently in commercial use in the furniture industry.

Presentation by UL on fire resistance technologies currently in commercial use in the furniture industry.

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  • frPU had 3% FR as chlorinated TRI, TPP, and TBPP
  • FB8: 2-layer high-loft barrier. One side is predominantly rayon and the other cotton. Boron detected suggesting boric acid FR treatment.FB3: monolithic film flat barrier based on glass fiber weave. Coating was a predominantly inorganics (calcium aluminum silicates). Contained about 3% TPP and TBPP FR and antimony oxide.
  • The fire in the top cannot be mitigated by the home owner whereas there is a possibility of the one depicted on the bottom.
  • Material-Level Test Results1. frPU foam usage: Slightly shorter burn duration2. High-loft barrier usage:Prolonged time to ignition by 9 to 21 s; extended burn duration by 174 to 355 sPHRR was modestly reduced but 180 s AHRR was significantly reducedTotal heat releases were 6 to 13 % lower3. Flat barrier usage:Prolonged time to ignition up to 2x longerPara-aramid blends extended burn duration by 106 and 868 s; others were 415 to 433 s shorterPHRR was reduced up to 34 % and 180 s AHRR was significantly reduced (58 to 91 %)THR for para-aramid blends was 9 and 42 % lower; others were 80 to 95 % lowerMock-up Tests Results1. frPU foam usage: PHRR reduced 24 %, THR reduced 28 %2. High-loft barrier usage:Extended survivable ignition exposure durationsPHRR was reduced 36 to 62 % Total heat releases tended to be greater3. Flat barrier usage:Extended survivable ignition exposure durations with 4 of 6 barriers surviving 300 sTwo para-aramid blends that did not survive 300 s exposure still exhibited 59 and 76 % reduction in PHRRFurniture Test ResultsMitigation Approach 1: TB117 FR foam substitution for PU foamExhibited ~20% lower PHRR when cushions were ignited (1.3 vs. 1.1 MW); Comparable PHRR when back was ignitedFire growth rate was comparable Mitigation Approach 2: High-loft FR barrier substitution for poly wrapReduced PHRR from 1+ MW to 400 kWRetarded fire growth rate by 3+X when cushions were ignited and 1.5X when back was ignitedMitigation Approach 3: Approach 2 + FR barrier covered sidesReduced PHRR from 1+ MW to 200 kWRetarded fire growth rate by 3+X when cushions were ignitedIgnition of back did not propagate
  • In the chair fires conducted for the upholstered furniture flammability project we observed peak heat release rates exceeding 1 megawatt, which is flashover conditions, to as low as 200 kilowatts with a fully barrier covered furniture. So if fire growth and the peak heat release rate could be reduced to just 400 kilowatts by simply swapping the polyester wrap with a high-loft FR barrier, would an equivalent living room still flashover, and if so, would it take longer?Start video.For these experiments we used identically furnished living rooms with the only variation being the materials used in the upholstered couch and chair. Even then, all of the upholstered furniture used the same hard wood frames to further isolate the role of the cover fabric, padding, and cushioning materials. The upper left set of furniture is representative of contemporary furniture you may find in a big box store – polyester wrap covered polyurethane foam cushions and a polyester microsuede cover fabric. The upper right is equivalent furniture pieces representative of legacy furniture, much like what grandma and grandpa had minus the vinyl covers – cotton batting over metal spring cushions and a cotton cover fabric. The bottom two scenarios are the contemporary furniture pieces but with a cotton-based high loft FR barrier substituted for the polyester wrap – same frame, same foam and same cover fabric.*** Only used FB8 barrier in these experiments (2-layer high-loft barrier. One side is predominantly rayon and the other cotton. Boron detected suggesting boric acid FR treatment.)*** Cotton batting had boron suggesting boric acid FR treatment (~ ¼ concentration of the barrier though)

Transcript

  • 1. © 2013 UL LLCResidential UpholsteredFurniture FlammabilityCPSC Upholstered Furniture Fire SafetyTechnology MeetingApril 25, 2013Rockville, MDThomas Fabian, Ph.D.Underwriters Laboratories
  • 2. Copyright© 2013 UL LLC. All rights reserved. No portion of this material may be reprinted in any form without theexpress written permission of UL LLC or as otherwise provided in writing.Upholstered Furniture FlammabilityPROGRAM OVERVIEW2material-level testsmock-up testsfurniture testsliving room flashover tests(Phase II)tenability and survivability tests(Phase III)Phase IDemonstration experiments toexplore if commercially availablefire resistance technologies canretard and/or reduce fire growth
  • 3. Copyright© 2013 UL LLC. All rights reserved. No portion of this material may be reprinted in any form without theexpress written permission of UL LLC or as otherwise provided in writing.Sample Nomenclature3{fr}PU-W-FB#-CPU = no fr foamfrPU = TB 117 foamPolyester wrap11 fire barriers(flat and high-loft)Polyester coverfabricNOT ALL COMPONENTS MAY BE PRESENTfoamwrapbarrier
  • 4. Copyright© 2013 UL LLC. All rights reserved. No portion of this material may be reprinted in any form without theexpress written permission of UL LLC or as otherwise provided in writing.Phase I: Mock-up Level ExperimentsPU-W-C (no barrier) vs. PU-W-FB1-C (with barrier)*4* Para-aramid blend barrierNote: mock-up levelconfiguration does notrepresent furnitureconstruction.
  • 5. Copyright© 2013 UL LLC. All rights reserved. No portion of this material may be reprinted in any form without theexpress written permission of UL LLC or as otherwise provided in writing.Phase I: Mock-up Level ExperimentsPEAK HEAT RELEASE RATE SUMMARYHigh-loft barriers Flat barriers5
  • 6. Copyright© 2013 UL LLC. All rights reserved. No portion of this material may be reprinted in any form without theexpress written permission of UL LLC or as otherwise provided in writing.Phase I: Furniture Level ExperimentsINFLUENCE OF CHAIR COMPONENTS & IGNITION LOCATIONcorner seat/back back bottom61 2 3 4 1 2 3 41 2 3 41. foam-wrap-fabric2. FR foam-wrap-fabric3. foam-high-loft barrier-fabric cushions4. foam-high-loft barrier-fabric cushions + flatbarrier on frameNote: UL has been advised by PFA that use of foam in backcushions may not be representative of current practice.
  • 7. Copyright© 2013 UL LLC. All rights reserved. No portion of this material may be reprinted in any form without theexpress written permission of UL LLC or as otherwise provided in writing.Phase I: Furniture Level ExperimentsINFLUENCE OF SOFA COMPONENTS7
  • 8. Copyright© 2013 UL LLC. All rights reserved. No portion of this material may be reprinted in any form without theexpress written permission of UL LLC or as otherwise provided in writing.Phase I: Summary of ResultsAll approaches exhibited some level of reduced ignitability/flammability.Approach 1: TB117 FR foam substitution for PU foam• Reduced burn duration on cone calorimeter tests• Reduced heat release rate on mock-up tests• Reduced furniture peak heat release rate when cushions were ignited(1.3 vs. 1.1 MW)Approach 2: FR barrier inclusion or poly-wrap substitution• Reduced heat release rate on cone calorimeter and mock-up tests• FR barrier substitution for poly-wrap reduced furniture peak heat releaserate by ~3XApproach 3: FR barrier substitution for poly-wrap + covered sides• Reduced peak heat release rate from >1 MW to 200 kW• Ignition of back did not propagate8
  • 9. Copyright© 2013 UL LLC. All rights reserved. No portion of this material may be reprinted in any form without theexpress written permission of UL LLC or as otherwise provided in writing.Phase II: How does fire growth initiated on upholstered furniture usingcommercially available fire barrier compare to without barrier?Phase III: What is the impact of including a barrier in upholsteredfurniture on tenability and safe egress time?Phase II and III ExperimentsOVERVIEW9VIDEO
  • 10. Copyright© 2013 UL LLC. All rights reserved. No portion of this material may be reprinted in any form without theexpress written permission of UL LLC or as otherwise provided in writing.Phase III: Tenability ExperimentsFurnitureAlarm Activation(s)Tenability Time(s)ASET(s)No barrier 242 426 184With barrier 92 1237 114510Tenability ≥ 88 °C (consistent with Indiana Dunes II)FurnitureAlarm Activation(s)Tenability Time(s)ASET(s)No barrier 92 239 147With barrier 206 1877 16711-STORY RANCH HOUSE2-STORY OPEN FLOOR PLAN HOUSE
  • 11. Questions and Discussions11Thomas.Fabian@ul.comwww.ul.com/fireservice