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Flammability Tests of Full-Scale Mattresses: Gas Burners versus Burning Bedclothes

Published

Author(s)

Thomas J. Ohlemiller

Abstract

Six mattress and foundation designs were subjected to two modes of ignition: the NIST dual gas burners and burning bedclothes. All of the designs represent substantial reductions in flammability compared to current residential designs but they nevertheless covered a wide range of performance, as measured by peak heat release rate and time to that peak. Variability of the fire behavior of some designs (in triplicate gas burner tests) made comparisons with the burning bedclothes results more difficult, however, a reasonable correlation was found between the two methods when worst case behavior was compared. Relatively late developing hazards of some otherwise well performing mattress designs would not be observed if the 1 h gas burner test duration were shortened, a degree-of-safety-improvement decision for regulatory authorities. Persistent crevice flames were a clear contributor to the failures seen in some of the tests (both with gas burners and bedclothes). Data are now available on crevice flame duration and heat flux so as to permit simulation of this exposure as part of the proposed CPSC bench-scale screening protocol. Variability of the fire behavior of some designs made comparisons of the two ignition modes more difficult but a reasonable correlation was found between the two when worst case behavior was compared. It was not found possible to shorten the one hour test period for the gas burners.
Citation
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 7006
Report Number
7006

Keywords

bed fires, flammability test methods, heat release rate, mattress flammability

Citation

Ohlemiller, T. (2003), Flammability Tests of Full-Scale Mattresses: Gas Burners versus Burning Bedclothes, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], https://doi.org/10.6028/NIST.IR.7006 (Accessed June 25, 2024)

Issues

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Created July 1, 2003, Updated November 10, 2018