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Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726-2398
Phone: (608) 231-9200
Fax: (608) 231-9592
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Comparison of Two Bench-scale Tests Used for Obtaining Heat Release Rate

Mass Loss Calorimeter modified to include thermopile on chimney walls to compensate for radiant energy errors of the in-flow thermopile. Laura Hasburgh, USDA Forest Service
Mass Loss Calorimeter modified to include thermopile on chimney walls to compensate for radiant energy errors of the in-flow thermopile. Laura Hasburgh, USDA Forest Service
Snapshot: There is a growing demand for material properties to be used as inputs in fire behavior models designed to address building fire safety. This comparative study evaluates using the mass loss calorimeter as a low-cost alternative to the cone calorimeter for obtaining heat release rates of wood-based materials.
Summary:

Bench-scale tests are commonly used as the first step in obtaining combustion and flammability characteristics of materials. The cone calorimeter and the mass loss calorimeter (MLC) are two standard bench-scale tests used to obtain the time to ignition, heat release rates, and mass loss rates. The aim of this study was to compare and determine the level of agreement between the two bench-scale tests, with a focus on the heat release rate. It is widely accepted by scientists that the cone calorimeter, with the oxygen consumption method, is more accurate for obtaining the heat release rates than the MLC, which uses the thermopile method. The MLC at the Forest Service's Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wisc., was modified with an additional gas convection thermopile on a chimney and calibrated using the heat release rates of ethylene glycol and polymethyl methacrylate, or PMMA. The scientists compared 19 commercially available wood products and examined the quality and accuracy of the heat release rate measurements. Based on the test results of the 19 materials, the mass loss calorimeter is an economical alternative to the cone calorimeter.
Princpal Investigator(s):
 Hasburgh, Laura E


Research Location:
  • Forest Products Laboratory


Forest Service Partners:
  • Boardman, Charles R.
  • Dietenberger, Mark A.
  • White, Robert H.

Fiscal Year: 2015
Highlight ID: 608
 
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