Anthony P. Hamins, Sung C. Kim, Daniel Madrzykowski
A series of cooking fire experiments were conducted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to examine the hazard associated with cooking oil fires. First, a series of experiments were conducted on a free-standing stove situated in the open. The experiments were based on scenarios outlined in the UL 300A draft standard for fire suppression apparatus. Both gas and electric ranges were tested. Several volumes of oil and types of cooking vessel were used. Oil was heated on a cook top burner until autoignition took place. Measurements of oil and pan temperatures, heat release rate, and heat flux characterized the hazard of the ensuing fires. Finally, a series of experiments were conducted using a full-scale residential kitchen arrangement to examine the hazard associated when the free burning oil fires were situated within a compartment equipped with commercial furnishings, including a range hood with ventilation fan, fiberboard cabinets, and countertops. The dimensions of the test room were 3.6 m x 3.4 m x 2.4 m high. Corn oil was heated on a cook top burner until autoignition took place. Measurements of room temperature, heat flux, and heat release rate showed that even small stove-top fires can rapidly spread and grow within the kitchen compartment.