Assessing Fire-blocking Performance of Laminated Barrier Fabrics Using Derived Cone Calorimetric Parameters
Shonali Nazare, William M. Pitts, John R. Shields, Mauro Zammarano
The fire blocking performance of barrier fabrics laminated to upholstery materials was investigated. The results are two-fold. The first involves information gathered directly from cone calorimetry tests conducted on foam/fabric composites to better understand the role played by fire-protective barrier fabrics in protecting underlying flexible polyurethane foam. Systems containing foam covered with upholstery fabric, but no fire-blocking barrier fabric, demonstrate a delay in ignition time when compare to foam alone. Once ignited, the cover fabric is the dominant contributor to the peak heat release rate of the foam/fabric composite while the foam is the largest component of the total heat released. This is in contrast to the foam/fabric composite including a laminated fire-protective barrier, where the peak heat release rate is reduced significantly. Secondly, while the cone calorimetric experiments focused on heat release rates, it was noted that the mass loss of the foam was negatively correlated with the effectiveness of the barrier fabrics. The estimated mass loss of foam during the period following the initial intense burning phase and 600 s is proposed as a means for characterizing the effectiveness of the barrier fabric in reducing the contribution of flexible polyurathane foam (FPUF) to the heat release rate (HRR). Subject to testing of additional laminated fabric combinations, this parameter could prove useful for screening upholstery combinations prior to full-scale testing and may be useful in predicting the performance of full-scale upholstery products.