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A laboratory method has been developed for the combustion of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and other polymeric materials in such a way as to produce a constantly flowing, steady-state atmosphere for animal toxicity studies. The method is based on the principles of the German Standard DIN 53 436. However, the present method has a much larger combustion tube and specimen, more versatility in specimen size and air dilution rates, utilizes radiant heating, and has achieved continuous flaming combustion as well as nonflaming. Steady-state atmospheres in a large animal exposure chamber were maintained for up to 60 min under nonflaming conditions and up to 25 min under flaming conditions. A broad range of smoke concentrations have been achieved (e.g., smokes from PVC containing between 400 and 8000 ppm HCl have been produced). The apparatus has the capability for application to research studies on the chemical or toxicological nature of smokes from materials or products and may be applicable to computer modeling of toxic fire hazards.
combustion, polymers, polyvinyl chloride, hydrogen chloride, fire tests
Staff scientist, Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX