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Polymers 2016, 8(9), 342; doi:10.3390/polym8090342

Factors for Consideration in an Open-Flame Test for Assessing Fire Blocking Performance of Barrier Fabrics

Fire Research Division, Engineering Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8665, USA
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Academic Editors: Baljinder Kandola, Abderrahim Boudenne and Paul Kiekens
Received: 14 July 2016 / Revised: 24 August 2016 / Accepted: 6 September 2016 / Published: 19 September 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Flame Retardancy of Textile Related Products)
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Abstract

The main objective of the work reported here is to assess factors that could affect the outcome of a proposed open flame test for barrier fabrics (BF-open flame test). The BF-open flame test characterizes barrier effectiveness by monitoring the ignition of a flexible polyurethane foam (FPUF) layer placed in contact with the upper side of the barrier fabric, exposed to a burner flame from below. Particular attention is given to the factors that influence the ignitibility of the FPUF, including thermal resistance, permeability, and structural integrity of the barrier fabrics (BFs). A number of barrier fabrics, displaying a wide range of the properties, are tested with the BF-open flame test. Visual observations of the FPUF burning behavior and BF char patterns, in addition to heat flux measurements on the unexposed side of the barrier fabrics, are used to assess the protective performance of the BF specimen under the open flame test conditions. The temperature and heat transfer measurements on the unexposed side of the BF and subsequent ranking of BFs for their thermal protective performance suggest that the BF-open flame test does not differentiate barrier fabrics based on their heat transfer properties. A similar conclusion is reached with regard to BF permeability characterized at room temperature. However, the outcome of this BF-open flame test is found to be heavily influenced by the structural integrity of thermally degraded BF. The BF-open flame test, in its current form, only ignited FPUF when structural failure of the barrier was observed. View Full-Text
Keywords: residential upholstered furniture; barrier fabrics; flammability; thermal protective performance; thermal degradation; flaming ignition; flexible polyurethane foam residential upholstered furniture; barrier fabrics; flammability; thermal protective performance; thermal degradation; flaming ignition; flexible polyurethane foam
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Nazaré, S.; Pitts, W.M.; Shields, J.; Davis, R. Factors for Consideration in an Open-Flame Test for Assessing Fire Blocking Performance of Barrier Fabrics. Polymers 2016, 8, 342.

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