Assessment of fire performance of typical furniture foams with and without fire retardants using a cone calorimeter

Wan Ki Chow, S. S. Han, W. R. Zeng

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Both thermal and smoke aspects on typical samples of furniture foams with and without fire retardants available in the market were tested with a cone calorimeter. To study their behaviour under big fires, high incident radiative heat fluxes up to 70 kWm-2 were adjusted. Transient curves on heat release rate, mass loss rate, carbon monoxide concentration, carbon dioxide concentration, smoke release rate and other key parameters were measured. Further, chemical constituents of the fire retardants were analyzed by X-ray fluorescence, Fourier Transform Infrared, Gas Chromatography/ Mass Spectrometry and Pyrolysis Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry. It is observed that foam treated with fire retardant would not be ignited under an incident heat flux of 10 kWm-2. However, when burning under heat fluxes higher than 20 kWm-2, there is not much improvement in the thermal aspect for foam treated with fire retardants. Even more smoke and toxic gases such as carbon monoxide was emitted. Therefore, testing ignitibility of furniture foam materials under a small match flame is not adequate. Tests with high radiative heat flux encountered in big fires are suggested. Cone calorimeter tests proposed in this paper would give a better assessment on fire safety. Finally, three risk parameters are proposed to work out a combustibility database.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-94
Number of pages22
JournalCellular Polymers
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Organic Chemistry


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