Rapportnummer Trätek I 9307037
Two major research programs on reaction to fire of building products have been performed in Scandinavia during the last 10 to 15 years. The first one 'Fire hazard and compartment fire growth' started around 1980 as a cooperation between three Swedish laboratories and was led by professor Ove Pettersson, Lund. It was mainly focused on developing new experimental techniques and new theoretical methods to understand the early fire growth. Its aim was also to support the international standardization within ISO. The second program 'Eurefic' started in the late 80-ies as a cooperation between the four national fire laboratories in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. It was led by professor Ulf Wickström, SP and focused mainly on support to the development within the European Community and CEN.
Both programs have concentrated on surface linings and on heat release during fire. New techniques based on oxygen consumption as the cone calorimeter and the room fire test have been studied and utilized. Different models which predict the full-scale behaviour from small-scale data have been developed. These models clearly show that the new technique is superior to the present national standards and thus supplies new possibilities.
Some recent data show that flame retardants have a marked effect on the fire behaviour of wood products also according to the new test methods which has been questioned earlier.
The conclusions are that the new technology is ready for European standardization but experience is still lacking in some countries. For wood it is important to reach a fair classification in relation to other products. A classification system with three to four classes for surface linings is suggested. Smoke production should be included.
The wood industry should also put more emphasis on fire issues as other industries do. Regulators should be more aware of the possibilities to use the new techniques to achieve fire safety and facilitate free trade in Europe.
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