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    The flammability of living vegetation is influenced by a variety of factors, including moisture content. physical structure and chemical composition. The relative flammability of ornamental vegetation is of interest to homeowners seeking to make their homes ‘fire safe’. The relative importance of the factors influencing fire behaviour characteristics, such as flammability, is unknown. In the present study, oxygen consumption calorimetry was used to obtain selected combustion characteristics of ornamental vegetation. Peak heat release rate, mass loss rate, time to ignition and effective heat of combustion of 100 × 100- mm samples of foliage and small branches were measured using a bench-scale cone calorimeter. Green and oven-dry samples of 10 species were collected and tested seasonally for a period of 1 year. Similar measurements were made on whole shrubs in an intermediate-scale calorimeter. The range of cone calorimeter peak heat release rates for green and oven-dry samples was 1-176 and 49-331kW m-2, respectively. Moisture content significantly reduced heat release rates and increased time to ignition. Peak heat release rates for Olea europea and Adenostoma fasciculatum were consistently highest over the year of testing; Aloe sp. consistently had the lowest heat release rate. The correlation of peak heat release rater measured by the cone calorimeter and an intermediate-scale calorimeter was statistically significant yet low (0.5 1) The use of the cone calorimeter as a tool to establish the relative flammability rating for landscape vegetation requires additional investigation.

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    Weise, David R.; White, Robert H.; Beall, Frank C.; Etlinger, Matt. 2005. Use of the cone calorimeter to detect seasonal differences in selected combustion characteristics of ornamental vegetation. International journal of wildland fire. Volume 14, 2005; pp 321-338.


    Ornamental plants, flammability, fire testing, calorimetry, plants, heat of combustion, fire risk assessment, cone calorimetry, mass loss rate, fire hazard, ignition, heat release rate, Olea europea, Adenostoma fasciculatum

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