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Fire is only one of the major hazards that result from rapid combustion of polyolefins. Another major hazard is smoke evolution, since smoke can prevent people in a fire from finding necessary exits. Smoke, however, should not be considered independently from the composition of the smoke, that is, the products of combustion.
Olefin polymers are formulated with a variety of additives to meet specific performance characteristics. Smoke can be reduced by additives, but often at the expense of other properties of the system. Suggestions are made for further research activities to improve smoke reduction.
Test methods used to measure smoke are described and comparisons are made between materials in a given test sequence. Further research work is needed in the area of assessing smoke evolution as a function of time, particularly at the onset of a fire.
smoke evolution, flammability, polyolefins
General Manager-TechnologyMember, Saytech, Inc.Ethyl Chemicals Group, E. Brunswick, NJ