Fire Behavior of Upholstered Furniture and Mattresses


  • John Krasny, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST - Retired)
  • William Parker, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST - Retired)
  • Vytenis Babrauskas, Fire Science & Technology, Inc.

In the United States alone, deaths due to furniture and bed fires still rank as the top-most category of fire losses. The flammability of upholstered furniture is a major concern of engineers and others across a wide swath of organizations. This book was written to provide its audience with the science and engineering need to better understand the combustibility of the products they manufacture, purchase, and try to extinguish. Beginning with a brief overview of materials, safety design and standards, the text covers topics such as flame ignition, spread, toxic gases, heat release rate (HRR), test methods, fire hazard analysis, and selected regulations in the US, UK, and EU.
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This book was written to address the science and engineering information needs of public and private sector fire technology personnel including fire service students and officers, fire investigators, fire protection engineers, government officials, textile, chemical, and furniture industry personnel, or institutional furniture purchasers.


Book information

  • Published: December 2000
  • ISBN: 978-0-8155-1457-2

Table of Contents

Introduction General Arrangement of the Book Upholstered Furniture Structure and Mattresses Upholstered Furniture and Mattresses Design and Fire Safety Upholstered Item Fire Statistics Summary of Regulatory DevelopmentFundamentals Pyrolysis and Combustion Smoldering Transition to Flaming Flaming Ignition Flame Spread Heat Release Propagating and Non-Propagating Fires Inter-Item Spread Interaction with Enclosure Flashover Smoke and Toxic GasesTest Methods, Standards and Regulations Cigarette Ignition Flaming Fire Tests, Standards and Regulations Smoke and Toxic GasesIgnition Sources Matches, Small Gas Flames and Methenamine Pills Wood Cribs Newspaper Sheets and Their Gas Burner Replacements Waste Paper Baskets: Real and Simulated Radiant Flux Ignition Sources Other Ignition Sources and Locations Large Open-Flame or Radiation SourcesEffects of Test Apparatus and of Test Scale Comparison of Bench-Scale Results Comparison of Bench and Full-Scale ResultsUpholstered Item Design Engineering Ignition Resistance to Cigarettes Flaming Fires Smoke Toxic ProductsModeling Introduction Furniture Fire Models A Component HRR Model for Furniture CompositesFire Hazard Analysis Smoldering Fires Flaming Fires The Role of HRR The Role of Other Factors Relationship of HRR and Available Escape Time Hazard Predictions Based on ModelingConclusion