Assessing fire behaviour of common building materials with a cone calorimeter

C.L. Chow, Wan Ki Chow, Nai Kong Fong, Z. Jiang, S.S. Han

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic research


Fire behaviour of selected samples of building materials including wood and plastic materials such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) commonly used in the market were assessed. Both thermal aspects and smoke toxicity were studied by testing the samples of wood, PVC and PMMA in a cone calorimeter. PVC was found to be very toxic as it has the smallest value of smoke potency. Not much smoke was given out in testing wood with a cone calorimeter. PMMA has a higher value of smoke potency, appeared to be not so toxic.||A flashover heat flux at floor level of 20 kWm-2 was applied. It was found that under such heat flux, both wood and PMMA were ignited, but PVC was very difficult to ignite. Therefore, the thermal effects of burning PVC by an accidental fire would not be so bad. However, when the heat flux was increased to 50 kWm-2, smoke would give problems upon ignition of the materials.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-98
Number of pages8
JournalInternational journal on architectural science (建築科學國際期刊)
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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