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    Author(s): Robert H. White; Kuma Sumathipala
    Date: 2013
    Source: In: Proceedings of the Fire and Materials 2013 Conference, San Francisco, California, USA 28-30 January 2013; pp. 401-412.
    Publication Series: Full Proceedings
    Station: Forest Products Laboratory
    PDF: Download Publication  (551.79 KB)


    The cone calorimeter is widely used for the determination of the heat release rate (HRR) of building products and other materials. As part of an effort to increase the availability of cone calorimeter data on wood products, the U.S. Forest Products Laboratory and the American Wood Council conducted this study on composite wood products in cooperation with the Composite Panel Association and APA-The Engineered Wood Association. We tested the specimens in accordance with ASTM E 1354 and used a heat flux of 50 kW/m2. The twenty-nine commercial wood composites included untreated and fire-retardant-treated (FRT) particleboards, untreated and FRT medium density fiberboards, untreated high density fiberboards, untreated plywoods, and untreated oriented strand boards. Such FRT composites are made to have a Class A flame spread rating when tested in the ASTM E 84 tunnel test. Fire retardant treatment of the wood products reduced the initial HRR, reduced the mass loss rate, increased the residual mass fraction, resulted in lower average effective heat of combustion values, and usually resulted in longer ignition times. For the untreated specimens, the results for residual mass fraction at the end of the test ranged from 0.13 to 0.28 with a mean result of 0.23. In contrast, the results for the FRT samples ranged from 0.33 to 0.39 with a mean result of 0.36. In the case of the 300 s HRR averages, the range was 118 to 218 kW/m2 for the untreated composites and 58 to 100 kW/m2 for the FRT composites.

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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    White, Robert H.; Sumathipala, Kuma. 2013. Cone calorimeter tests of wood composites. In: Proceedings of the Fire and Materials 2013 Conference, San Francisco, CA, 28-30 January. p. 401-412.


    Cone calorimeter, plywood, oriented strand board, fiberboard, fire, particleboard

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