Experimental study of fire barriers preventing vertical fire spread in ETISs
Tianjin Fire Research Institute, the Ministry of Public Security of China, Tianjin, PR China
In recent years, the external thermal insulation system (ETIS) has been applied increasingly in a large amount of buildings for energy conservation purpose. However, the increase use of combustible insulation materials in the ETIS has raised serious fire safety problems. Fires involving this type of ETIS have caused severe damage and loss. In order to improve its fire safety, fire barriers were suggested to be installed.
This paper introduces fire experiments that have been done to study the effects of fire barriers on preventing vertical fire spread along the ETIS. The experiments were performed according to BS 8414-1:2002 “Fire performance of external cladding systems – Part 1: Test method for non-loadbearing external cladding systems applied to the face of the building”. The test facility consists of a 9 m high wall. The fire sources were wood cribs with a fire size of 3 ± 0.5 MW. The insulation materials were expanded polystyrene foam (EPS). The fire barrier was a horizontal strip of rockwool with a width of 300 mm. Thermocouples were used to measure temperatures outside and inside the ETIS.
A series of experiments with different fire scenarios were done: no fire barrier, two fire barriers and three fire barriers at different heights. Test results were compared. The results show that the ETIS using EPS without fire barriers almost burned out, while the ETIS with fire barriers performed well in preventing fire spread. The temperatures above the fire barrier were much lower than those below the fire barrier, and most of the insulation materials above the top fire barrier stayed in place.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2013
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