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Upholstered Furniture Heat Release Rates Measured With a Furniture Calorimeter.



Vyto Babrauskas, James R. Lawson, William D. Walton, W H. Twilley


Accurate burning rate information on upholstered furniture is important for two purposes--to predict the room fire development history for a fire involving the furniture, and to relatively, but adequately, rank commercial products for a given application. Small-scale test result data not referenced to full-scale fires lack validity, while full-scale room fires are costly and lack generality. To enable simplified but realistic full-scale testing to be done, a new apparatus, termed a furniture calorimeter was developed. Rates of heat release are measured by using the oxygen consumption principle. Test were conducted in the furniture calorimeter on thirteen different specimes of upholstered furniture, representing typical, but carefully controlled, construction. The results showed significant heat release differences between thermoplastic and cellulosic fabrics, between frame types and between padding materials. For polyurthane form padding, however, performance was unrelated to results of Bunsen burner type tests on the foam. Thee data developed (1) can be used directly in the calcul tion of room fire growth; (2) will form some of the reference data for development of apropriate bench-scale test procedures; and (3) can be used in some cases to estimate burning rates of similar but not identical furniture.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) -


burning rate, fire tests, flammability tests, furniture, plastics, heat release rate, textiles, upholstered furniture, oxygen consumption


Babrauskas, V. , Lawson, J. , Walton, W. and Twilley, W. (1982), Upholstered Furniture Heat Release Rates Measured With a Furniture Calorimeter., NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed April 15, 2024)
Created November 30, 1982, Updated October 12, 2021