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Issaquah, WA, United States

Babrauskas V.,Fire Science and Technology Inc.
Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries | Year: 2016

The results of the UN test O.1 for oxidizing solids are shown to be incorrect when specimens contain certain inertant additives, illustrated for the case of oxidizers in the ammonium nitrate fertilizer family. Test results for three different AN-based products containing inertants show that two of the three (including calcium ammonium nitrate, CAN, a long-known safer alternative to AN) would be misranked with the O.1 test. An analogy between the heat release rate of substances containing fire retardant (FR) chemicals is established and several ways by which FR behavior can be achieved are demonstrated. It is shown that the O.1 test implicitly adopts only one model of inertant action, and that chemicals which rely on a differing mode of inertant action are liable to be incorrectly treated. It is further shown that the physical basis of the O.1 test-an intimate mixture of finely-comminuted fuel and oxidizer-misrepresents the most common type of accidents involving oxidizers, and that such test results do not correspond to scenarios of a less extreme nature. The new O.3 test improves the analysis method, but does not resolve the problem of excessive commingling of fuel into oxidizer. It is recommended that the intermediate-scale arrangement used by the Bureau of Explosives be adopted for further development and standardization, in preference to the O.1 or O.3 test arrangements. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Gann R.G.,U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology | Babrauskas V.,Fire Science and Technology Inc. | Grayson S.J.,Interscience Communications | Marsh N.D.,U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology
Fire and Materials | Year: 2011

The science of understanding how fires burn and how heat smoke and gases are generated and affect people has progressed substantially in the last half century. The principles of facility design for life safety in fires have reached a degree of maturity. Standards and code provisions for fire detection, suppression and control have become the norm. Real-scale (or nearly real-scale) test methods for the flammability of furnishings and interior finish have been established. In addition, some tests have been developed that measure the results of the burning of a small sample from the finished product. Yet, while there have been numerous small-scale apparatuses developed for assessing the generation of heat, toxic gases, and visible or corrosive smoke, these facets of life and property safety have not found widespread inclusion in building and fire codes. There has been an invigorated effort in ISO TC92 SC3, Fire Threat to People and the Environment, to develop a coherent and comprehensive set of fire safety standards and guidance documents for life safety. Smaller efforts are ongoing within some national and regional standards bodies. In November 2008, experts in this field gathered at The Royal Society in London to hear papers that captured the state of the art and to discuss where we might go from here. This paper summarizes the papers and the discussion from that meeting. © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Source

Babrauskas V.,Fire Science and Technology Inc. | Jones J.C.,University of Aberdeen
Journal of Fire Sciences | Year: 2011

The Forum is intended to provide for dialogue and discussion among fire experts, scientists and consultants. Contributions to The Forum will not be refereed in the conventional sense, but will be subject to review by the Editor or a member of the Journal's Editorial Board relative to appropriateness, clarity, timeliness, and scope of interest. The Editor will be the sole judge of those contributions to be published. Opinions expressed, however, are those of the authors and not of the Editor or Sage Publications, Ltd. © The Author(s), 2011. Source

Babrauskas V.,Fire Science and Technology Inc.
Fire Technology | Year: 2016

The concept of noncombustibility evolved in the early days of building codes, before quantitative methods of measuring and assessing components of fire hazard were available. ‘Noncombustible’ lacks a technical definition of general scope, but in the US codes, which are the primary focus of this study, it is defined as a material which meets the criteria of the ASTM E136 test. The hazard variables underlying the noncombustibility concept are examined in this study. In view of today’s state of the art, it is shown that noncombustibility requirements, in most cases, constitute a misapplication of fire safety principles and that their use should be discontinued, in preference of using variables that express quantitative fire safety principles. Heat release rate (HRR) is the primary variable which correctly establishes the relevant hazard. In recent years, some regulations have been promulgated which use bench-scale HRR test results directly for this purpose. The ultimate hazard to be addressed, however, is the full-scale HRR behavior. When the hazard involves fires which may spread over surface linings, however, the full-scale HRR is not simply directly scaled to the bench-scale HRR. To quantify this hazard properly, additional properties of the material which govern the flame spread behavior need to be considered. A simple, easy-to-use method for this purpose are described, which is based solely on data obtainable from the Cone Calorimeter (ASTM E1354; ISO 5660) test. Validation of the concept against room-scale data is provided and is shown to be successful. © 2016 Springer Science+Business Media New York Source

Babrauskas V.,Fire Science and Technology Inc. | Blum A.,University of California at Berkeley | Blum A.,Green Science Policy Institute | Daley R.,Green Science Policy Institute | Birnbaum L.,U.S. National Institutes of Health
Fire Safety Science | Year: 2011

The extensive use of chemical flame retardants to meet the California Furniture Flammability Standard Technical Bulletin 117 (TB117) [1] provides an example of the need for consideration of environmental impacts of fire safety interventions before they are implemented. Flame retardants are currently being used in products with high levels of human exposure without adequate toxicological testing. For example, flame retardants commercially used to meet TB117 have been found to have negative impacts upon human, animal, and environmental health [2] and notably, the TB117 standard has not been shown to have a measurable fire safety benefit. Both the unintended adverse impacts and the lack of fire safety benefits of California TB117 are discussed in detail. © 2011 INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR FIRE SAFETY SCIENCE. Source

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