SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1993

Spontaneous Ignition Temperature of Tracheal Tubes


Operating room fires continue to be reported in the medical literature. To simulate operating room conditions, a high pressure spontaneous ignition apparatus was redesigned to allow for the determination of spontaneous ignition temperature of trachea! tubes in 100% oxygen at atmospheric pressure. Pure oxygen flowed through a test chamber at 100 cm3/min, and a temperature ramp rate of 10°C/min was used. Sample temperature, chamber temperature, chamber pressure and elapsed time were stored on-line by computer. The experimental ignition temperature was observed as a spike in sample temperature-time plot.

Five samples each of poly (vinyl chloride), red rubber and silicone rubber tracheal tubes were analyzed for spontaneous ignition temperature, which were determined to be 428°C, 371°C, 381°C, respectively.

It was concluded that the small differences in spontaneous ignition temperature for the various tracheal tube materials has little clinical relevance to the tubes chosen for the particular surgical procedure.

Author Information

Wolf, GL
State University of New York, Health Science Center at Brooklyn, Brooklyn, New York
McGuire, JG
SRC Consultants, Ltd., Woolston, Cheshire, U.K.
Nolan, PF
Department of Chemical Engineering, South Bank University, U.K
Sidebotham, GW
The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York
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Developed by Committee: G04
Pages: 57–65
DOI: 10.1520/STP24848S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5247-2
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-1855-3