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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Ignition of Combustion Modified Polyurethane Foam


Results are presented from an experimental study on the ignition of the combustion modified (fire retarded) polyurethane foam Pyrell® (35.3 kg/m3 and 64.0 kg/m3) in elevated oxygen concentrations, ranging from 30% to 60%. The samples are exposed to an external flow and variable radiant heat flux on one face, and insulated on the other faces. The experiments show that Pyrell undergoes a weak smoldering reaction that requires significant assistance in the form of external heat input in order to propagate. The results also show that given sufficient oxygen and radiant heat flux, the smoldering reaction can produce enough volatile fuel and heat to trigger a gas phase ignition, i.e. a transition from smoldering to flaming, in pores in the char region. The experiments also indicate that high-density Pyrell is more ignitable than low-density Pyrell, which could be explained by the greater solid surface area for smoldering reactions to take place.

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