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Real-Time Measurements of Condensed-Phase Spectra in Burning Polymers



Marc R. Nyden


A major goal of the Building and Fire Research Laboratory is to provide the polymer industry with the technical understanding and measurement tools that are needed to develop a new generation of fire resistant materials. In the pursuit of this goal, we have examined the feasibility of using mid-infrared transmitting fibers connected to a Fourier Transform Infrared spectrometer to monitor spectral changes occurring in the condensed phase of burning polymers. The fiber optic set-up used in these experiments consisted of a sapphire probe connected at both ends to zirconium fluoride cables. These cables are in turn connected to focusing optics that launch an evanescent wave at the source and capture it at the detector. A reflectance spectrum results from the attenuation of the evanescent wave due to absorption of the polymer (and its degradation products) in the immediate vicinity of the probe. Recent results which were obtained during cone calorimeter flammability measurements made on nylon-6 and a nylon-6klay nanocomposite will be presented.
Applied Spectroscopy


cone calorimeters, fiber optics, FT-IR, nylon 6 (trademark), flammability measurements, nanocomposites


Nyden, M. (1999), Real-Time Measurements of Condensed-Phase Spectra in Burning Polymers, Applied Spectroscopy, [online], (Accessed March 3, 2024)
Created January 1, 1999, Updated February 19, 2017