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Reduced-Scale Test to Assess the Effect of Fire Barriers on the Flaming Combustion of Cored Composites: an Upholstery-Material Case Study



Mauro Zammarano, John R. Shields, Isaac T. Leventon, Ickchan Kim, Shonali Nazare, Andre L. Thompson, Rick D. Davis, Artur A. Chernovsky, Matthew F. Bundy


In this work, we describe a reduced-scale test (“Cube” test), based on cone calorimetry, measuring the fire performance (heat release rate, propensity to pool-fire formation, etc.) of composite specimens including a fire barrier (FB) and a flammable core material (core) acting as the main fuel load. The specimen is intended to be a representative cross-section of a composite product. The top and bottom surfaces of the core may be covered by FBs, whereas the remaining lateral surfaces are thermally insulated and sealed to prevent mass/heat transfer. The top surface of the specimen is exposed to radiant heat flux generated by the cone heater. The test has been designed to capture the effect of FBs on heat transfer (from a heat source to the core) and mass transfer (through the FB of liquid and gaseous products released by flaming combustion of the core) on the top and bottom of the specimen. Besides conventional cone- calorimetry performance parameters, specific Cube-test parameters are measured, such as the so- called “wetting point”, i.e., the time and value of heat release rate measured when flammable liquid products were first observed under the specimen. The test procedure and benefits of the Cube test are reviewed in this work by adopting residential upholstery furniture (RUF), as a case study. Seven material combinations based on six FBs, one flexible polyurethane foam (as core) and one polypropylene cover fabric were selected and tested in the Cube test. The relevance of the “wetting point” on the full-scale performance of FBs is discussed.
Fire and Materials


Fire Barrier, Heat transfer, Mass Transfer, Pool-fire, Reduced-scale test


Zammarano, M. , Shields, J. , Leventon, I. , Kim, I. , Nazare, S. , Thompson, A. , Davis, R. , Chernovsky, A. and Bundy, M. (2020), Reduced-Scale Test to Assess the Effect of Fire Barriers on the Flaming Combustion of Cored Composites: an Upholstery-Material Case Study, Fire and Materials, [online], (Accessed May 24, 2024)


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Created September 3, 2020, Updated September 20, 2020