AbstractThis paper elaborates on the an experiment conducted with the Cone Calorimeter on three materials, namely blue carpet samples, green carpet samples and underlay samples. This experiment is done in order to determine the values of wide array parameters that help understand and compare their properties to assess the fire behaviour of each of these samples. The results are obtained and the values are analyzed in order to arrive at a conclusion that will aid researchers who are interested in information regarding the properties of these samples as well as to provide data input for mathematical models that are developed for the purpose of predicting fire development.
It starts with a small introduction that examines the aim, objectives and background of the experiment, followed by an explanation of the methodology and equipment used, the results of the experiment with a discussion and a conclusion. IntroductionAimsThe main aim of this experiment is to determine the fire behaviour of certain materials. ObjectivesThe main objectives include: To gather information and parameters associated with combustionTo determine the properties of fire including cumulative heat release, the rate of heat release per unit area, time to ignition, effective heat combustion, effective heat combustion, total mass loss, mass loss rate and smoke obstruction.
To assess the fire hazard of materials involved. BackgroundThe first law of thermodynamics states that everything exists in some form of energy. This implies that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. On the contrary it can only be transformed into various forms. It can change from one form to different forms, but the sum of all forms of it cannot change (Bradford, 2009).
This first law of thermodynamics is applied in combustion. Combustion is a sequence of exothermal chemical reactions between a fuel and an oxidant which is accompanied by the production of heat or light or both heat and light. Bradford (2009) defines combustion as, “a process involving rapid oxidation at elevated temperatures, accompanied by the evolution of heated gaseous products of combustion and the emission of visible and invisible radiation. ” Zhou (2008) gives a very simple definition of combustion. He defines combustion as, “the burning of a fuel and oxidant to produce heat and/or work. ” Fire is a chemical reaction in which a carbon based material mixes with oxygen and is heated to a point when flammable vapours are produced.
When these vapours come into contact with something that is hot enough to cause vapour ignition, it results in a fire. Fire is a chemical reaction known as oxidation. The fire triangle or combustion indicates and illustrates the rule that in order for a fire to ignite and burn, it requires three important elements namely heat, fuel and oxygen. A fire naturally occurs when these elements are combined in the right mixture.
There is a fourth element in the triangle which is the sustaining chemical reaction. Combustion is the chemical reaction that feeds the fire more heat and allows it to sustain. It is important to understand the above concepts of combustion, fire and the law of thermodynamics in order to assess the fire behaviour of materials in this experiment.