Fire Safety for New Wood Products FPL's History in Fire Research

A compelling issue at FPL is how we ensure that traditional and new innovative wood products do not adversely contribute to loss of life and property in fires.The Durability and Wood Protection Research at FPL is prepared to answer these questions. A part of the group’s mission is improving durability and wood protection through improved building design, advances in low-toxicity wood preservatives, and improvements in fire safety.

With unique fire research facilities, fire safety research at FPL addresses the potential contribution of wood products to the growth of a fire, the ability of structural wood elements to withstand a fire, and the chemical treatment of wood products to reduce their flammability. Fire safety is a major component of existing building codes and will be continue to be so in future developments of editions of the building codes and other regulatory documents.

flashpoint

This burning test structure from 1975 is at the point of flashover—the sudden spread of flames over an area when it becomes heated to the flashpoint. Results of these tests indicated that sandwich panels provided structural integrity for various lengths of time depending on the facing material used for the panels.

FPL has worked on fire safety for decades and has helped quantify the fire performance of wood products. This research has contributed to the development of treatments of wood that reduced their flammability. Research helped define the fundamentals of fire behavior and efforts to develop methodologies for fire testing of wood and composite materials to ensure proper measurements of relevant performance characteristics. More recently, contributions have been toward data and models required for fire safety engineering of forest products in a performance-based building code environment.