A Study on Smoke Hazards from Burning Aramid Fibre Composite Materials in a Building Fire

Project: ResearchGRF

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Aramid fibre composite material (AFCM) has emerged as a popular material for both repairing old buildings and constructing new buildings. However, the polymer matrix materials, adhesives and aramid fibres are combustible. Consequently, more smoke is emitted by burning AFCM than by burning composite materials based on carbon or glass fibres. When buildings made of AFCM catch fire, the emitted smoke generates an environment that is hazardous for the occupants and firefighting personnel. In addition, it has been reported that several laboratory personnel who frequently carry out standard fire safety tests on AFCM have suffered from smoke exposure. This project will study the smoke hazards associated with burning AFCM products in building fires. The burning behaviour and smoke hazards of AFCM products (in the form of both panes and sheets, which are commonly used in buildings) will be investigated using bench-scale, medium-scale and full-scale experiments. During the early stages of a room fire, the upper part of vertically orientated AFCM products are exposed to a layer of hot gas and they can easily ignite and emit smoke. Therefore, the fire behaviour of vertically orientated AFCM products under non-uniform high radiative heat fluxes will be investigated using a cone calorimeter. Multiple radiative heat fluxes will be tested on both vertically and horizontally orientated AFCM samples in the cone calorimeter. The surface temperatures, ignition times and fire and smoke potency parameters of the AFCM samples will be measured. The concentrations of toxic gases will be measured using Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometry. These concentration values will be used in an N-gas model to assess the smoke toxicity emitted from burning AFCM samples (and the model will also be modified to explore the effects of taking into account different types of gas, for example, taking into account only carbon monoxide). Medium-scale experiments will be carried out on the AFCM samples using a thermal radiator that can emit higher radiative heat fluxes at the top compared to the bottom. The smoke emission resulting from changes in the thermal decomposition at various AFCM surface temperatures will be observed. Full-scale burning tests on part of a model AFCM system in a building will be carried out to investigate the toxicity of the emitted smoke and the reduced visibility. The results will then be used to propose appropriate fire safety tests for assessing the smoke hazards of AFCM. ?


Effective start/end date1/01/18 → …