Polyisocyanurate Foam Pyrolysis and Flame Spread Modeling

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Chaudhari, D.M.; Stoliarov, S.I.; Beach, M.W.; Suryadevara, K.A. Polyisocyanurate Foam Pyrolysis and Flame Spread Modeling. Appl. Sci. 2021, 11, 3463.


Polyisocyanurate (PIR) foam is a robust thermal insulation material utilized widely in the modern construction. In this work, the flammability of one representative example of this material was studied systematically using experiments and modeling. The thermal decomposition of this material was analyzed through thermogravimetric analysis, differential scanning calorimetry, and microscale combustion calorimetry. The thermal transport properties of the pyrolyzing foam were evaluated using Controlled Atmosphere Pyrolysis Apparatus II experiments. Cone calorimetry tests were also carried out on the foam samples to quantify the contribution of the blowing agent (contained within the foam) to its flammability, which was found to be significant. A complete pyrolysis property set was developed and was shown to accurately predict the results of all aforementioned measurements. The foam was also subjected to full-scale flame spread tests, similar to the Single Burning Item test. A previously developed modeling approach based on a coupling between detailed pyrolysis simulations and a spatially-resolved relationship between the total heat release rate and heat feedback from the flame, derived from the experiments on a different material in the same experimental setup, was found to successfully predict the evolution of the heat release rate measured in the full-scale tests on the PIR foam.