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Flammability Reduction Group Members Present at the 2019 BCC Flame Meeting

Two members of the NIST Flammability Reduction Group (FRG) recently traveled to San Antonio, Texas for the 30th Annual Conference on Recent Advances in Flame Retardancy of Polymeric Materials (the 2019 BCC Flame Meeting). 

Cube Test
Figure 1. “Cube test”: A Reduced-Scale Tool to Characterize the Combustion Behavior of Composite Upholstered Materials by Cone Calorimetry
Dr. Mauro Zammarano delivered an oral presentation highlighting a modified cone calorimeter test – the “Cube Test”, developed by the FRG – which aims to provide a more realistic representation of residential upholstered furniture (RUF) combustion. Currently, full-scale tests are the only reliable tools to assess the flammability of an actual RUF product; however, for cost and time considerations, it is infeasible to perform full-scale testing on all RUF products available on the market today. The Cube Test was therefore developed to identify which upholstery material combinations were more, or less, prone to generate a pool fire, which is a key contributor to the large size (heat release rate, HRR) of RUF fires. The main purpose of this study was to verify that better performing upholstery materials in the reduced-scale test method had a lower likelihood of developing a pool fire with an associated relatively large peak heat release rate, when the same upholstery materials were used in the construction of an actual RUF item.

A .pdf copy of this presentation is available for download by clicking Fig. 1 or the following link:

Figure 2. Effect of Fire-Retardant Coatings and Weathering on the Flammability of Wood-Based Materials in WUI Communities
Dr. Laura Dubrulle delivered an oral presentation that focused on NIST research to limit wood from contributing to fire growth and spread within WUI communities. In particular, the viability of currently available technologies to prevent ignition and fire spread of wood used in the construction of fences and decking was assessed. Response to fire of wood samples was assessed by means of cone calorimetry at an external heat flux of 50 kW m-2. Ten commercial fire-retardant coating (6 film-forming and 4 penetrating stains) were selected and applied on western red cedar to assess their flaming properties. In addition, considering that these coatings are designed for outdoor applications, accelerated weathering testers (UV, spray and condensation cycles) were used to assess the effect of weathering on fire performances of coated wood substrates.

A .pdf copy of this presentation is available for download by clicking Fig. 2 or the following link:

These presentations highlight the results of ongoing research conducted as part of the Reduced Flammability of Residential Upholstered Furniture Project and for Improving Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) Community Fire Protection.

More information about the 2019 BCC Flame Meeting is available at:

Released June 1, 2019, Updated June 20, 2019