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In Europe, the harmonization of fire testing of upholstered furniture burning behavior is expected to be based on modern test technology. One approach is to define a design fire scenario of special importance and seek test methods that can predict fire conditions. Such a scenario is a room where a piece of upholstered furniture is on fire. That scenario is defined in the draft furniture directive by the Commission of the European Communities (CEC). The draft directive says that the atmosphere in such a room must remain for a reasonable period of time after ignition such that it does not endanger the lives or physical well being of exposed persons. This will be achieved by controlling the rates of heat release, smoke, and toxic gas production. The only test methods that measure these parameters are, for example, oxygen consumption calorimeters, the cone calorimeter, and the furniture calorimeter. The furniture calorimeter is a test method for full-sized items. The test output is useful for predicting the design scenario fire conditions. However, because it is large scale it becomes too expensive for routine testing of large quantities of furniture. A small-scale test is required that can model the large-scale furniture calorimeter output. The candidate test is the cone calorimeter.
fire testing, furniture calorimeter, cone calorimeter, room/corner test, large scale fire testing, rate of heat release, classification criteria, fire modeling
Head of section, SP, Swedish National Testing and Research Institute, Boras