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J Therm Anal Calorim (2015) 119:229–238

DOI 10.1007/s10973-014-4165-9

Correlation analysis of sample thickness, heat flux, and cone


calorimetry test data of polystyrene foam
Weiguang An • Lin Jiang • Jinhua Sun •

K. M. Liew

Received: 8 July 2014 / Accepted: 5 September 2014 / Published online: 24 September 2014
Ó Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2014

Abstract This paper deals with thermal and fire perfor- while the reverse is true for mean HRR. The ignition and
mance evaluation of expanded polystyrene (EPS) and heat release risk of PS drop with the decrease of external
extruded polystyrene (XPS) in a cone calorimeter with a heat flux, and these hazards of XPS are higher than those of
piloted ignition. The correlation analysis of sample thick- EPS.
ness, heat flux (q_ 00 ), and experimental results is performed.
It is found that the heat flux follows a linear function of the Keywords Polystyrene  Cone calorimeter  Sample
vertical distance from the standard horizontal level to the thickness effect  Ignition time  Heat release rate 
sample. An optimization ignition model is established Correlation analysis
considering the effects of sample thickness (or radiant
distance). The modified ignition time (tig ) decreases with List of symbols
the increase of the sample thickness. Both tig (ignition A Sample surface area (m2)
time) and tig drop as external heat flux rises. EPS’s tig is c Specific heat (J kg-1 K-1)
more sensitive to the variation of external heat flux. k Thermal conductivity (J s-1 m-1 K-1)
Thermal thickness (dP) decreases with the intensifying of hc Convective heat transfer coefficient (W m-2 K-1)
heat flux, and dP is in linear correlation with q=q_ 00 . When q_ 00 External heat flux (kW m-2)
sample is quite thin or the irradiance level is low (2 cm- Tig Ignition temperature (K)
thick PS under 35 kW m-2 and 3 cm-thick EPS under T0 Initial temperature (K)
25 kW m-2), single peak heat release rate (HRR) is pres- tig Ignition time (s)
ent. Under other situations, there are at least two peak tig Modified ignition time (s)
values. For EPS, the first peak value is higher than the last, vf Flame spread rate (cm s-1)
while the reverse is true for XPS (exclusive of 5 cm-thick q Sample density (g cm-3)
XPS at 35 kW m-2). Both peak and mean HRR rise line- e Emissivity
arly with the increase of external heat flux. tig, tig , critical d Stefan–Boltzmann constant
heat flux and dP of XPS are smaller than those of EPS, dP Thermal thickness (cm)

W. An  L. Jiang  J. Sun (&)


State Key Laboratory of Fire Science, University of Science and
Technology of China, Hefei 230026, Anhui, People’s Republic
of China Introduction
e-mail: sunjh@ustc.edu.cn
W. An The polystyrene (PS) foams are typical thermal insulation
e-mail: weiguang@mail.ustc.edu.cn materials, which mainly comprise expanded polystyrene
(EPS) and extruded polystyrene (XPS). Because of PS’s
W. An  K. M. Liew
Department of Architectural and Civil Engineering, City low thermal conductivity, light weight and good physical
University of Hong Kong, Kowloon 999077, Hong Kong properties, it is widely used on building facade for energy

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230 W. An et al.

conservation. However, the fire hazard of PS is consider- As for the thermal thickness (dP), it is defined as the
able. This material is easy to melt and be ignited, when thickness of the sample which has been heated to a certain
exposed to heat. The resulting flame spread rate is high and temperature [15]. Babrauskas suggested that dP could be
the combustion releases considerable heat. A good example calculated with Eq. 4 [15]:
is the PS fire which occurred on the facade of Beijing qffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi
Television Central Culture (TVCC) building in February dp ¼ a= ktig =ðqcÞ ð4Þ
2009, causing one death of fireman and a loss of
Above literature review indicates that the thickness
26.2 million dollars [1]. Therefore, the thermal and fire
effects were not considered in previous models and experi-
performance of such materials must be evaluated.
mental works concerning EPS fire tests, although sample
ISO 5660 Cone Calorimeter Test is a kind of test stan-
thickness is an important factor influencing the thermal and
dard, which has been developed for evaluating the com-
fire performance of materials. Moreover, previous works
bustibility of materials. Previous works mainly focused on
focus on EPS, while study on XPS combustion performance
cone calorimeter test of thermal setting materials, for
using cone calorimeter is scarcely seen. The coupled effects
example, wood [2, 3]. The reaction-to-fire characteristics,
of sample thickness and radiation intensity also deserve
such as ignition time and heat release rate (HRR), were
detailed investigation. In addition, based on previous models
investigated. However, PS is the thermal plastic material
(Eqs. 1–4), it is expected to deduce some valuable conclu-
which behaves quite differently in the fire. Thus, the study
sions and optimized models with respect to PS.
of thermal and fire behavior of PS in a cone calorimeter is
In this study, employing the cone calorimeter, the
necessary. The fire performance of PS composite board has
thermal, and fire performance of PS samples (EPS and
been studied by some researchers [4, 5]. Nevertheless, the
XPS) with different thicknesses were studied under various
cone calorimeter research of standard PS is rare to see,
irradiance levels. The fire characteristics that are often used
although this study is more fundamental and could provide
to define the fire hazard comprise the ignition time, HRR,
guidance for the research of PS composite.
and flame spread rate [16]. The flame spread rate cannot be
The fire characteristics of EPS with cone calorimeter
measured directly using the cone calorimeter. However,
were investigated by Collier et al. [6], whose conclusions
Eq. 3 indicates that it is significantly affected by the igni-
differ from those of Scudamore et al. [7]. There appears to
tion time. Thus, this work focused on the ignition time and
be little consensus on their cone calorimeter tests of EPS.
the HRR. In addition, the thermal thickness was also
In addition, Xu et al. evaluated the fire safety of EPS foam
investigated. Thermal and fire properties of PS under dif-
employing multi-scale methods including the cone calo-
ferent conditions were compared, and the results of EPS
rimeter test [8]. However, their work concerning cone
were contrasted with those of XPS. The correlation ana-
calorimeter test is not detailed.
lysis of thickness, heat flux, and cone calorimetry test data
Above works are experimental studies, while the
was performed. The mechanism involved was explored.
research of modeling is listed as follows:
Previous researchers have established a model to predict
the ignition time [9, 10]:
Experimental
tig ¼ ðp=4ÞkqcðTig  T0 Þ2 =ðe2 q_ 002 Þ ð1Þ
Materials
Quintiere et al. and Luche et al. investigated the critical
heat flux (CHF), which is defined as the limiting flux to just
pffiffiffiffiffi The EPS and XPS samples used in this work are produced
cause ignition [11, 12]. They proposed that 1= tig
by the Hefei Double Star Thermal Insulation Materials Co.,
increases linearly with the rise of external heat flux, and
Ltd. and the Anhui Jurong Energy Saving Insulation
thus a fitting line could be obtained. CHF could be deduced
Materials Co., Ltd., respectively. The product types of EPS
employing Eq. 2, where yintercept and S are the intercept and
and XPS are MB (Molded beads)-17 and R-12, respec-
the slope of this fitting line, respectively.
hy i tively. The samples are all non-fire-retardant. Some phys-
intercept ical parameters of the samples are listed in Table 1 [17–
CHF ¼  ð2Þ
S 19]. Sample sizes were 100 9 100 mm.
In addition, Eq. 3 was established to represent the
relationship between flame spread rate and ignition time Apparatus
[13, 14]:
vf ¼ df =tig ; ð3Þ The ISO 5660 Cone Calorimeter Test was employed in this
work. PS samples were placed horizontally on the speci-
where df is the preheating length. men holder.

123
Correlation analysis of PS foam 231

Table 1 Some physical parameters of PS Table 2 Ignition time (s) of XPS and EPS with different thicknesses
-1 -1 -3 -1 -1 and external heat fluxes
Material k/W m K q/kg m c/J kg K Tig/K p/%
Material Heat flux/kW m-2 2 cm 3 cm 4 cm 5 cm
XPS 0.029 34 1,210 700.35 96.5
EPS 0.040 17 1,210 699.05 98 XPS 25 129 140 [600 [600
35 39 44 50 62
The values of k and c were found in [17]. PS particles are comprised
of honeycombs, and p denotes the porosity between honeycombs [18]. 45 22 23.5 28 33
The samples tested in [17, 18] are the same as those used in this work. EPS 25 237 256 [600 [600
q and Tig were measured by the authors. Tig was measured with the 35 54 60 69 86
ignition temperature meter (DW-02) [19]
45 33 36.5 39 46

Experimental methods

Before each test, external heat flux was set at the required
value. The edges and rear surface of samples were wrapped
with aluminum foil. The sample was positioned in a
specimen holder. Insulation board was used underneath
samples. The specimen holder with a sample was placed
horizontally under the heater. The sample upper surface
was located on the standard horizontal level, the distance
from which to the heater is 2.5 cm. To investigate the Fig. 1 Comparison of sample (3 cm-thick XPS) when exposed to
effects of thickness, sample thicknesses were selected as heater. a Before heated; b after heated
2–5 cm. For each test, the distance from the heater to the
sample upper surface is constant. To study the influence of Thicker sample means longer distance from the heater,
external heat flux, irradiance levels were set as 25, 35, and resulting in reduced radiant heat obtained. Therefore, the
45 kW m-2. When the heater and spark plug were swit- ignition time for the thicker sample is longer. In addition,
ched on, the program in the computer was trigged to record the ignition times of 4 cm- and 5 cm-thick samples under
the experiment. Once the visible flame was observed, the 25 kW m-2 are much larger than those of other samples.
sample was considered ignited. Each test was repeated at The reasons involved will be investigated in the following.
least two times to minimize experimental error. Besides above qualitative analysis of thickness effects,
the quantitative investigation is also conducted. Employing
the heat flow meter, the heat flux at different horizontal
Results and discussion levels (0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 cm below the standard hori-
zontal level) was measured. The function F(d) was intro-
Ignition time duced here:
FðdÞ ¼ q_ 00d =q_ 00 ; ð5Þ
Effect of thickness
where q_ 00 represents the heat flux at the standard horizontal
The measured ignition time of PS is listed in Table 2. For level. q_ 00d denotes the heat flux at the non-standard level, the
both EPS and XPS, the ignition time rises with the increase vertical distance from which to the standard one is d. As
of sample thickness. This may result from the shrinkage of discussed above, the thickness of shrunken XPS is quite
PS samples exposed to the heater. PS foams have double- small and negligible. Thus, d could be deemed as the
scale porosity, and PS particles are comprised of honey- sample thickness. The calculated values of F(d) are
combs. The porosity between honeycombs is greater than depicted in Fig. 2. For 4 cm- and 5 cm-thick samples under
96 % (Table 1: EPS: 98 %, XPS: 96.5 %) excluding the 25 kW m-2 (q_ 00 = 25 kW m-2), the values of F(d) are
porosity between PS particles. With the radiant heat flux, 0.732 and 0.652, respectively. Thus, the values of q_ 00d are
the original structure of PS is destroyed and the internal gas 18.3 and 16.3 kW m-2, respectively, which approach to
is released. Thus, the PS sample shrinks significantly with the critical heat flux (CHF). This will be demonstrated in
the melting behavior (Fig. 1). Consequently, the thin ‘‘Effect of external heat flux’’ section. When the external
molten PS is present at the bottom of the specimen holder. heat flux is close to the CHF, the ignition time increases
The increased distance between heater and material upper sharply [10, 20]. This could explain that ignition times of
surface is approximately equal to sample thickness. 4 cm- and 5 cm-thick samples under 25 kW m-2 are

123
232 W. An et al.

1.05
where tig is the modified ignition time eliminating the
25 kW m–2
1.00 influence of PS shrinkage. F(d)2 could be deemed as the
35 kW m–2
0.95 correction factor. Equation 7 quantitatively presents the
45 kW m–2 change in the ignition time with the variation of the radiant
0.90
distance. Supplementary experiments were conducted to
qd′′ / q ′′

0.85
verify Eq. 7. In these experiments, the vertical distance
0.80 from the heater to the sample upper surface was set at 3 cm
0.75 (standard value is 2.5 cm), 3.5, 4, and 4.5 cm. With the
increase of this vertical distance, the heat flux may
0.70
approach the CHF. Thus, tests under 25 kW m-2 or using
0.65 5 cm-thick samples were not conducted. The measured
0.60 ignition times are presented in Table 3. With Eq. 7 and
0 1 2 3 4 5 Table 2, the predicted ignition times at non-standard radi-
d /cm ant distance are deduced and also shown in Table 3. Fig-
Fig. 2 The relationship between the ratio of heat fluxes and the ure 3 is plotted to compare the experimental values and the
vertical distance from the standard horizontal level to the sample predicted ones. Figure 3 demonstrates that the predication
error is smaller than 7 %, indicating Eq. 7 is reliable.
In cone calorimeter tests of PS, the shrinkage of samples
would increase the distance between the heater and fuel
significantly longer. F(d) is seen to decrease almost linearly
surface, leading to the deviation in ignition time. This
with d, and thus the linear curve fitting is performed.
deviation could be modified using the models established
Several linear equations are tested and Eq. 6 was found to
here (Eq. 7). With Eq. 7 and Fig. 2, the modified ignition
agree well with all experimental data.
time (tig ) at different sample thicknesses is computed and
FðdÞ ¼ 1:0142  0:0674d ð6Þ presented in Fig. 4. Tewarson indicated that for the exter-
nal heat flux near the CHF, the relationship between tig and
According to Eq. 1, tig / 1=q_ 002
d ;
where tig is the exper-
imental value of ignition time (presented in Table 2). 1=q_ 002
d is non-linear [20]. Thus, the ignition times of 4 cm-
Based on Eqs. 1, 5, and 6, it is deduced that and 5 cm-thick samples under 25 kW m-2 are not con-
sidered in Fig. 4. Figure 4 demonstrates that tig decreases
tig ¼ FðdÞ2 tig ¼ ð1:0142  0:0674dÞ2 tig / 1=q_ 002 ; ð7Þ with the increase of sample thickness, and the decrease is

Table 3 Comparison between predicted and experimental ignition time with different thicknesses and heat fluxes (s)
Material External heat Distance from Predicted value Experimental value
flux/kW m-2 heater to sample
surface/cm 2 cm 3 cm 4 cm 2 cm 3 cm 4 cm

XPS 35 3 42.17 47.89 54.85 43 46 52


3.5 45.74 52.33 60.45 45 50 61
4 49.79 57.40 – 47 55 –
4.5 54.40 63.26 – 57 60.5 –
45 3 23.79 25.58 30.72 23 24 29
3.5 25.80 27.95 33.85 24 26 34
4 28.09 30.66 – 27 29 –
4.5 30.69 33.79 – 29 35 –
EPS 35 3 58.39 65.31 75.70 55 64 78
3.5 63.34 71.35 83.42 60 68 83
4 68.94 78.28 – 66 74 –
4.5 75.32 86.26 – 74 89 –
45 3 35.68 39.73 42.78 34 42 40
3.5 38.71 43.41 47.15 38 43 49
4 42.13 47.62 – 40 45 –
4.5 46.03 52.48 – 48 50 –

123
Correlation analysis of PS foam 233

90 Effect of external heat flux


85 XPS 35 kW m–2 7 % error bars
80 XPS 45 kW m–2
EPS 35 kW m–2
Table 2 and Fig. 4 show that the ignition time of PS
Predicted ignition time/s

75
70 EPS 45 kW m–2 samples drops as external heat flux rises. This suggests that
65 the ignition hazard of PS increases with the rise of external
60 heat flux. This can be explained employing the optimized
55 7 % error bars model (Eq. 7), which also indicates that the ignition time is
50
in negative correlation with the external heat flux.
45
40
With an external heat flux of 25 kW m-2, the ignition
35 time is remarkably longer than results at 35 and
30 45 kW m-2. It is extrapolated that the critical heat flux,
25 namely CHF, should be considered.
20
CHF could be deduced using Eq. 2, where slope and
20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80 85 90
intercept of the line could be obtained in the curve fitting.
Experimental ignition time/s
Figure 5 depicts the curve evolution of the square root of
Fig. 3 Comparison for the experimentally measured and predicted the inverse of ignition time as a function of external irra-
ignition time diance. The linear curve fitting is conducted. The 4 cm-
and 5 cm-thick samples were excluded in the curving fit-
ting. The reason involved has been stated in ‘‘Effect of
180
160 XPS 25 kW m–2 thickness’’ section. The slope and intercept of the line are
140 EPS 25 kW m–2 presented in Fig. 5. The slope for XPS is larger than that
120
XPS 35 kW m–2
Modified ignition time/s

100 for EPS, indicating the ignition time of EPS is more sen-
EPS 35 kW m–2
sitive to the variation of the external heat flux. The critical
XPS 45 kW m–2
EPS 45 kW m–2 heat fluxes of EPS determined from Eq. 2 are
40 11.77–12.07 kW m-2 and for XPS, 10.42–10.82 kW m-2.
CHFXPS is lower than CHFEPS, demonstrating the ignition
risk of XPS is higher than that of EPS. In addition, Tew-
arson suggested that the experimentally measured CHF is
20 larger than the calculation [20]. Above analysis of CHF
corresponds to the reason for the phenomenon that the
ignition times of 4 cm- and 5 cm-thick samples under
2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.5 5.0 25 kW m-2 are considerably longer.
Thickness/cm
Comparison between XPS and EPS
Fig. 4 The modified ignition time versus sample thickness

The physical parameters of PS are shown in Table 1.


not considerable for thicker samples. The conclusion Inserting these parameters into Eqs. 1 or 7, the ignition
agrees with that of Shi et al. [21], who tested non-charring time of XPS is found to be larger than EPS, assuming that e
materials (HDPE, PP and PMMA) under autoignition and T0 of XPS are equal to those of EPS. The difference in
conditions. However, the present conclusion is not con- theoretical value of ignition time between XPS and EPS is
sistent with Harada’s results [22]. In his work, various primarily determined from the difference in material den-
wood samples were tested, and the ignition time was found sity. The porosity of EPS is higher than XPS, causing the
to increase with the rise of sample thickness at most higher density of XPS and thus the larger theoretical
occasions. In addition, Huang et al. [18] found that the ignition time. The conclusion is opposite to experimental
upward flame spread rate of PS rises with an increase in results presented in Table 2 and Fig. 4. The inconformity
sample thickness. This phenomenon could be explained could be attributed to the melting behavior of PS when
using the conclusion deduced here. During the upward exposed to heat (Fig. 1). The PS molting temperature range
flame spread, the flame adheres to the unburned fuel, and is 120–180 °C, which is much lower than the ignition
thus the flame radiant distance approximately does not temperature [18]. The molten stage will sustain for a rel-
change with the shrinkage of PS. As discussed above, the atively long time. Huang proposed that the physical
modified ignition time decreases with the increase of parameters of molten PS are significantly different from
sample thickness. Based on Eq. 3, the dropping of the those of PS [18]. For molten XPS and EPS, the porosity is
ignition time accounts for the rise of the flame spread rate. approximately the same, and thus the densities are almost

123
234 W. An et al.

Fig. 5 Square root of the


inverse of ignition time as a 0.22
XPS, 2 cm
function of external heat flux
0.20 XPS, 3 cm
EPS, 2 cm
0.18 EPS, 3 cm
fitting line

1/sqrt (t ig )/s–1/2
0.16

0.14

0.12 Equation y = a + b*x


Value R^2
XPS, 2 cm Intercept -0.06523 0.98474
0.10 Slope 0.00626
XPS, 3 cm Intercept -0.06591 0.99485
Slope 0.00609
0.08 EPS, 2 cm Intercept -0.06592 0.94038
Slope 0.00546
EPS, 3 cm Intercept -0.06125 0.94439
0.06
Slope 0.00515

25 30 35 40 45
–2
External heat flux/kW m

Table 4 Thermal thickness (cm) of XPS and EPS with different dp ¼ Cq=q_ 00 þ b ð8Þ
thicknesses and external heat fluxes
Material Heat flux/kW m-2 2 cm 3 cm 4 cm 5 cm
The values of C and b are also listed in Fig. 6. For XPS,
C & 1.1, and as to EPS, C & 5.3. Equation 8 is different
XPS 25 1.08 1.12 – – from the equation proposed by previous researchers
35 0.59 0.63 0.67 0.75 [15, 21], who suggested that dp ¼ Cq=q_ 00 . Babrauskas
45 0.44 0.46 0.50 0.54 proposed that C = 0.6 for wood [15], and for PMMA, Shi
EPS 25 2.42 2.52 – – found C = 0.14 [21].
35 1.16 1.22 1.31 1.46
45 0.91 0.95 0.98 1.07 Heat release rate

Effect of sample thickness


the same. If kc of molten XPS is still lower than that of
molten EPS, the theoretical ignition time of XPS will be The HRR histories of PS samples with different thicknesses
shorter than that of EPS, which agrees with experimental are plotted in Fig. 7. Single peak HRR is observed with a
results. Above analysis concerning physical parameters of sample thickness of 2 cm. For samples with thicknesses
molten PS will be testified in the future work. In addition, larger than 2 cm, there are at least two peak values, one of
since the ignition time of XPS is shorter than that of EPS, which is present at the beginning of the ignition, the other
the ignition risk of XPS is higher, which is consistent with near the test end (e.g. Fig. 7a 4 cm-thick sample). Before
the conclusion in ‘‘Effect of external heat flux’’ section. ignition, the mass loss rate has reached to a certain value
and pyrolysis gas is released. When the ignition occurs,
Thermal thickness samples received additional heat flux (not only from the
heater, but also from the flame). The pyrolysis accelerates
Thermal thickness (dP) could be calculated employing and more combustible gas is generated. The combustion of
Eq. 4, where a is a coefficient whose value was set as 1.13 these pyrolysis gas, including the gaseous fuel before
in previous works [15, 21]. The thermal thicknesses under ignition, results in the presence of the first peak HRR. At
different conditions are presented in Table 4. dP increases the end of the test, the sample is quite thin and close to the
as the sample thickness rises, while the trend is reverse insulated board of the specimen holder. Conductive heat
with the intensifying of the external heat flux. The thermal loss from PS upper surface to the underneath decreases, as
thickness of XPS is smaller than that of EPS. the insulated board supporting sample prevents the heat
dP as a function of q=q_ 00 is plotted in Fig. 6, and the transfer to the specimen holder. In addition, some parts of
linear curve fitting is conducted. For XPS and EPS, dP and the aluminum foil wrapping the specimen are exposed to
q=q_ 00 follows Eq. 8. the heater (Fig. 1b), leading to the high temperature of the

123
Correlation analysis of PS foam 235

Fig. 6 Thermal thickness as a


function of density divided by Equation y=C*x+b
heat flux 2.5 Value R^2
XPS, 2 cm b -0.3966 0.9635
C 1.07057
XPS, 3 cm b -0.41204 0.9752
C 1.11692
EPS, 2 cm b -1.18405 0.9176
2.0 C 5.20971
EPS, 3 cm b -1.19894 0.9215

Thermal thickness/cm
C 5.37135

XPS, 2 cm
1.5
XPS, 3 cm
EPS, 2 cm
EPS, 3 cm
fitting line
1.0

0.5

0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4

ρ /q ′′/ kg kW –1 m–1

(a) Peak values Thickness


aluminum foil. Some heat would conduct from the alumi-
400 2 cm
3 cm num foil to the bottom of the sample. Considering above
4 cm
5 cm
two effects synthetically, the peak HRR near the test end
300
HRR/kW m–2

could be explained. However, since the mass of 2 cm-thick


200
sample is smaller, most of PS has burned out during the
first peak HRR, and thus the rest of material is not enough
100
to produce another peak value.
Comparing the values of the two peak HRR, it is found
0
that for EPS, the first peak value is higher than the last,
while the reverse is true for XPS (exclusive of 5 cm-thick
50 100 150 200 250 300 samples). The reason is given below.
Time/s The combustion residue is shown in Fig. 8. Comparing
with XPS, the combustion of EPS is more completed and
(b) 500 Thickness little residue is noticed. In the early stage of XPS com-
2 cm bustion, the residue adheres to the surface of the unburned
400 3 cm
4 cm
sample, preventing the heat and mass transfer. Thus the
5 cm HRR drops. The residue breaks gradually, and the sepa-
HRR/kW m–2

300
ration effects of the residue are not significant at the end of
200
the test. Therefore, the last peak HRR is higher for XPS,
which is similar to the cone calorimeter results of wood
100 [23]. However, the 5 cm-thick XPS may ignite before the
sample shrinks to the bottom of specimen holder. The
0 distance from the heater to the specimen surface is shorter
at ignition than that at the end of the test. It indicates that
50 100 150 200 250
the radiant heat flux acquired by the sample is more at
Time/s
ignition, and thus the first peak HRR is larger.
Fig. 7 Transient evolution of HRR for samples with different The peak and mean HRR of samples with different
thicknesses (heat flux: 35 kW m-2). a XPS; b EPS thicknesses are listed in Table 5, which shows that the peak

123
236 W. An et al.

(a) (b) (a) Heat flux


400
25 kw m –2
35 kw m –2
300

HRR/kw m–2
45 kw m –2

200

100

Fig. 8 Comparison of combustion residues between a XPS and


0
b EPS

50 100 150 200 250 300 350


Time/s
Table 5 Peak and mean value of HRR (kW m-2) for PS samples (b)
with different thicknesses Heat flux
400
Thickness/cm XPS EPS 25 kw m –2
35 kw m –2
Peak HRR Mean HRR Peak HRR Mean HRR 300

HRR/kw m–2
45 kw m –2
2 403.36 240.55 355.47 78.83
200
3 380.12 188.89 357.80 173.95
4 406.91 189.02 401.31 125.53
100
5 359.03 240.13 446.43 180.49

HRR of EPS increases with a rise in sample thickness.


100 200 300 400 500
Similar trend is not seen for results of XPS. The mean HRR
Time/s
of XPS is larger than that of EPS. The density and total
mass of XPS is two times higher than that of EPS, while Fig. 9 Comparisons of HRR history under different heat fluxes
the difference in time of burn out between XPS and EPS is (sample thickness: 3 cm). a XPS; b EPS
relatively small. It is deduced that the average mass loss
rate of XPS is higher. Furthermore, the cone calorimeter is
400
well ventilated and the combustion is complete. Thus
XPS’s mean HRR is higher. 350
Equation y = a + b*x
HRR/kW m–2

300 EPS peak a b R^2


Effect of external heat flux EPS mean EPS Mean -5.29237 4.79864 0.92019
XPS peak XPS Peak 272.71957 2.9551 0.97313
250 XPS mean XPS Mean 120.49241 1.90136 0.98579
The HRR histories of PS samples under different external EPS Peak 295.73957 1.7033 0.96951

heat fluxes are plotted in Fig. 9. For EPS samples under 200
heat flux higher than 25 kW m-2 and all XPS samples,
150
there are at least two peak values, one of which occurs at
the beginning of the ignition, the other near the test end. 100
For EPS, the first peak value is higher than the last, while 25 30 35 40 45

the reverse is true for XPS. The mechanism involved is Heat flux/kW m–2
similar to that interpreting the HRR trends with different Fig. 10 Peak HRR and mean HRR as a function of heat flux
thicknesses.
The exception is the EPS sample under 25 kW m-2, for
which only one peak HRR is observed. During the period period before ignition. The remaining material is too little
before ignition, the sample degradation and the mass loss to generate the last peak value.
continuously occur. As shown, the ignition time for EPS Figure 10 depicts the peak and mean HRR of samples
under 25 kW m-2 is significantly longer. Thus, the mass under different external heat fluxes. The curve fitting is
loss before ignition is considerable. Moreover, EPS’s mass conducted. Both the peak and mean HRR rise linearly with
is approximately one half of XPS’s. Therefore, most of an increase in external heat flux. The linear equations are
EPS has been consumed during the first peak HRR and the also presented in Fig. 10.

123
Correlation analysis of PS foam 237

From the results of ‘‘Effect of sample thickness’’ and The conclusions deduced and model established in this
‘‘Effect of external heat flux’’ sections, the mean HRR of work can provide a guidance to fire risk evaluation of XPS
XPS is higher than that of EPS, and both peak and mean and EPS. Furthermore, the experimental data could also be
HRR rise with the increase of the external heat flux. This used for modeling input or validation of numerical models.
demonstrates that the heat release risk of PS increases with In addition, since there has been insufficient research
the rise of external heat flux, and the heat release hazard of concerning this area, the present work could also develop
XPS is higher than that of EPS. The conclusion consists the fire science and calorimetry.
with the results in ‘‘Ignition time’’ section.
Acknowledgements This research is supported by National Basic
Research Program of China (973 Program, Grant. No.
2012CB719702), the Research Fund for the Doctoral Program of
Conclusions Higher Education (No. 20113402110023), National Natural Science
Foundation of China (No. 51036007 and No. 51206002) and Key
The fire and thermal characteristics of PS samples (EPS and Technologies R&D Program of China during the 12th Five-Year Plan
Period (No. 2013BAJ01B05). The Young Teacher Fund (No.
XPS) were investigated employing the cone calorimeter in QZ201109) of Anhui University of Technology and the open fund of
this study. Specimens with different thicknesses were tested State Key Laboratory of Fire Science (No. HZ2012-KF04 and No.
under various irradiance levels. The ignition time, thermal HZ2012-KF08) are also appreciated.
thickness, and HRR were identified. The correlation analysis
of sample thickness, external heat flux, and experimental
results were conducted. The mechanism involved was
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