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Impact of Glazing on Growing Compartment Fires. (Abstract/Presentation)

pdf icon Impact of Glazing on Growing Compartment Fires. (Abstract/Presentation) (220 K)
Pagni, P. J.; Cuzzillo, B. R.

NIST SP 998; May 2003.


fire growth; fire spread; compartment fires; glazing materials; flashover


As we understand it, the purpose of this conference is to address BFRL/NIST's goal of reducing residential life loss due to fire. Materials are sought that will slow or prevent flashover. Since flashover fires are the killers, the use of such materials will reduce life loss. That make's sense. But we would like you to think outside that box in two ways, one primary and one secondary. Take the secondary first: Pre-flashover fires also kill. Our conference chair, Dr. William Pitts, published a landmark summary of CO generation in compartment fires in the 5th IAFSS Symposium on Fire Safety Science. He identified an incredibly efficient CO generation mechanism as the vitiated, high temperature combustion of wood where nearly all the pyrolysed carbon emerges as CO.1 The practical consequence of this is that relatively small fires in small enclosed spaces, such as kitchen cabinets, or in wood filled plena, such as basement ceilings, become killers long before flashover occurs.2 Another case where small fires are deadly, especially to children, are unventilated enclosures, usually second floor bedrooms. These cases are particularly well described by the salt water modeling methods utilized here at NIST, since this is essentially a filling problem.3 The solution to both of these significant life safety problems is better, faster detection. Among your research priorities please include improved residential CO and smoke detection systems. Economics of scale should allow residential owners to afford reliable, technically sophisticated detectors.