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Sprinkler Protection Criteria for Rack-

Stored Exposed Expanded Group A Plastics

Kerry M. Bell, P.E.


Corporate Fellow
UL LLC

1
UL and the UL logo are trademarks of UL LLC © 2016
Fire Protection Research
Foundation Project Team
Sponsors Technical Panel
• IKEA • Ken Linder, Swiss Re
• Viking Sprinkler • Rich Pehrson, Rep. International Fire
• Reliable Sprinkler Marshals Association
• Tyco Fire and Building Products • Jason Huczek, Southwest Research
• XL Insurance Institute
• Property Insurance Research Group • John Denhardt, Strickland Fire
• Procter & Gamble Protection
• Target • Steve Wolin, Code Consultants, Inc.
• Aon Insurance • Matt Klaus, NFPA Staff Liaison

Project Contractor
• UL LLC
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Research Objective

To develop cost effective sprinkler system design criteria for the rack
storage of exposed expanded Group A plastic commodity with a
particular focus on ceiling only protection.
Protection of Exposed Expanded Plastics Stored in Racks
Figure 17.1.2.1

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NFPA 13 Commodity Classification
Class or
Group Class or Group Material
Essentially non-combustible products in corrugated cartons on combustible
Class I
Hazard Severity

pallets
Class I products in slatted wooden crates, solid wooden boxes or multiple
Class II
thickness paperboard cartons with or without pallets
Wood, paper, natural fiber cloth or Group C plastics with or without pallets.
Class III May contain a limited amount (5% by weight or volume or less) of Group A or
Group B plastics
Class I, II or III commodities in corrugated cartons with appreciable amounts
Class IV
(5-15% by weight, or 5-25% by volume) of Group A plastics
Cartoned Unexpanded Group A Plastic
Plastics

Exposed Unexpanded Group A Plastic

Cartoned Expanded Group A Plastic

Exposed Expanded Group A Plastic


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Standardized Test Commodities
Class II Class III Class IV

Cartoned Unexpanded Cartoned, Expanded Exposed, Expanded


Group A Plastic Group A Plastic Group A Plastic

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Examples of Expanded Plastics

• Cushioned
furniture

• Mattresses

• Food containers

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HRR Growth Curve of
Standard Test Commodities
3.500

3.000 HRR Increase = 1.3


MW/second
Heat Release Rate (kW)

2.500

2.000

1.500

Exposed Expanded Group A


1.000 Cartoned Expanded Group A
Cartoned Unexpanded Group A
500 Class II

0
0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140
7
Time, seconds
Exposed Expanded Group A Plastics –
A Challenging Commodity to Protect
• Fast developing fire with high heat release rate

• Rapid fire travel (both vertical and horizontal) within


the storage array

• Effectiveness of pre-wetting from sprinkler discharge


is reduced due to limited commodity absorption of
water
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Strategy for Protecting Exposed
Expanded Group A Plastics
Fire Challenge Stored
Protectionin Racks
Strategy
Fast developing fire with high Large K-factor ESFR technology
heat release rate discharging large quantities of water.
Testing was completed using nominal
K=363 (25.2) pendent ESFR sprinklers in
the intermediate temperature rating
discharging at 4.1 bar (60 psig ) or 477
cm of water/hour (188 inches of
water/hour)
Rapid fire travel (both vertical See above with vertical barriers within
and horizontal) within the the storage array to limit the (1) Hurricane/Typhoon
storage array horizontal fire travel and (2) commodity Up to 20 cm of
surfaces involved in the combustion water/hour (8 inches of
process water/hour)

Effectiveness of pre-wetting Minimum 2.4 m (8 ft.) aisle width to


from sprinkler discharge is minimize the potential for the fire to
reduced due to limited travel to the target arrays. COPYRIGHT © 2016 UL LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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commodity absorption of THIS DOCUMENT MAY NOT BE REPRODUCED OR
DISTRIBUTED WITHOUT PERMISSION OF
water
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Protection of Exposed Expanded
Plastics Stored in Racks
Acceptance Criteria for Test Data to be
Considered for Supporting Revisions to NFPA 13
Key Acceptance Criteria:
• Number of operated sprinklers (50% safety factor applied)
• No sustained combustion at the outer edge of the ends of the main
array and outer edges of the target arrays.
• 537°C (1000°F) maximum 1 minute average steel temperature
measured above the fire.
Variable Investigated, But Not Incorporated Into the Design Criteria
• Blocking of certain transverse flue spaces to simulate potential
conditions that may occur in the field was evaluated, but successful
10
test results were not achieved.
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FIRE TEST NUMBER Test 1 Test 2 Test 3 Test 5 Test 6
Test Date July 9, 2012 July 13, 2012 July 18, 2012 October 31, 2012 November 8, 2012
Test Parameters
Storage Type Double Row Rack Double Row Rack Double Row Rack Double Row Rack Double Row Rack
Exposed Expanded Exposed Expanded Exposed Expanded Exposed Expanded Exposed Expanded
Commodity Type Group A Plastic Group A Plastic Group A Plastic Group A Plastic Group A Plastic
4.9 m (16 ft.) on
4.9 m (16 ft.) on 4.9 m (16 ft.) on 7.3 m (24 ft.) on
4.9 m (16 ft.) on center - Main
center – center - Main center - Main Array
Vertical Barriers center - Main Array Array
Main Array (Non- Array (Non- (10 mm(3/8 in.)
(Non-combustible) (10 mm (3/8 in.
combustible) combustible) plywood)
plywood)
Number of Blocked
18 12 72 98 60
Traverse Flue Spaces
Length of Main
9.7 (32) 9.7 (32) 17 (56) 17 (56) 17 (56)
Storage Array, m( ft.)
Nominal Storage Height, m (ft.) 6.1 (20) 6.1 (20) 10. 7 (35) 12.2 (40) 9.1 (30)
Ceiling Height, m (ft.) 12.2 (40) 12.2 (40) 12.2 (40) 13.7 (45) 12.2 (40)
Aisle Width, m (ft.) 2.4 (8) 2.4 (8) 2.4 (8) 2.4 (8) 2.4 (8)
Between 2 Sprinklers Between 2 Sprinklers Between 2 Under 1 Sprinkler Under 1 Sprinkler
Ignition Location
(offset) (offset) Sprinklers (offset) (offset) (offset)
Sprinkler Type ESFR ESFR ESFR ESFR ESFR
Sprinkler Orientation Pendent Pendent Pendent Pendent Pendent
Deflector to Ceiling, cm (in.) 36 (14) 36 (14) 36 (14) 36 (14) 36 (14)
Sprinkler Spacing, sprinkler by
3 by 3 (10 by 10) 3 by 3 (10 by 10) 3 by 3 (10 by 10) 3 by 3 (10 by 10) 3 by 3 (10 by 10)
branchline, m (ft.)
Temperature Rating, ºC (ºF) 100 (212) 101 (214) 101 (214) 101 (214) 101 (214)
Nominal Sprinkler Discharge
Coefficient K, lpm/bar 0.5 320 (22.4) 363 (25.2) 363 (25.2) 363 (25.2) 363 (25.2)
11 (gpm/psig 0.5)
11
Nominal Discharge
3.4 (50) 4.1 (60) 4.1 (60) 4.1 (60) 4.1 (60)
Pressure, bar (psig)
12
Test 6 Arrangement
Plan View Elevation View 3/8 in. Plywood
Vertical Barrier
C (typical)
L

N 14 inches
10 ft. (typ.)

8 ft. 8 ft.
aisle aisle
3/8 inch
plywood
Vertical
Barriers ,
Ignition - 40 ft.
16 ft. on center 2 half
standard
igniters
30 ft. nominal

Exposed
Expanded
Group A
Plastic
(typical)
Horizontal Barrier, Placed on Ignition Location Vertical Barrier, 4 inches
top of pallets to span off of lab floor (typical)
transverse flues
(typical – 60 positions)
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Transverse Flue Space Blocking

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Test 6 – Sprinkler Operations (11)

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Test 6 – Main North Array Damage

16
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Test 6 – Main South Array Damage

17
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Test 6 – South Target
Array Damage
View from
Outside Arrangement

18
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Test 6 – Camera Locations
Ignition location: Centered under one
sprinkler, offset in transverse flue space.
10 ft.
(Typ.) N
Spr 91 Spr 92 Spr 93 Spr 94 Spr 95 Spr 96 Spr 97 Spr 98 Spr 99 Spr 100
10 ft.
(Typ.)

Spr 81 Spr 82 Spr 83 Spr 84 Spr 85 Spr 86 Spr 87 Spr 88 Spr 89 Spr 90

Spr 71 Spr 72 Spr 73 Spr 74 Spr 75 Spr 76 Spr 77 Spr 78 Spr 79 Spr 80

Spr 61 Spr 62 Spr 63 Spr 64 Spr 65 Spr 66 Spr 67 Spr 68 Spr 69 Spr 70

Spr 51 Spr 52 Spr 53 Spr 54 Spr 55 Spr 56 Spr 57 Spr 58 Spr 59 Spr 60

South
Wall
Spr 41 Spr 42 Spr 43 Spr 44 Spr 45 Spr 46 Spr 47 Spr 48 Spr 49 Spr 50
View

Spr 31 Spr 32 Spr 33 Spr 34 Spr 35 Spr 36 Spr 37 Spr 38 Spr 39 Spr 40

Initial
Ignition
Spr 21 Spr 22 Spr 23 Spr 24 Spr 25 Spr 26 Spr 27 Spr 28 Spr 29 Spr 30
Location
of South
Target
Spr 11 Spr 12 Spr 13 Spr 14 Spr 15 Spr 16 Spr 17 Spr 18 Spr 19 Spr 20
Array

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BE REPRODUCED OR DISTRIBUTED
North East Corner WITHOUT PERMISSION OF
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Balcony Camera View
Test 6 View from NE Balcony

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Test 6 – View from South Target Array

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Test 6 – View from South
East Corner - Infrared

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22
Tests
FIRE TEST No.
Used to
Test 1
Establish
Test 2
12.2
Test 3
m (40
Test 5
ft.) Design
Test 6
Criteria
Test 7 Test 8
Test Date July 9, 2012 July 13, 2012 July 18, 2012 Oct. 31, 2012 Nov. 8, 2012 June 8, 2013 June 19, 2014
Test Parameters
Double Double Double Double Double Double Double
Storage Type
Row Rack Row Rack Row Rack Row Rack Row Rack Row Rack Row Rack
Exposed Expanded Exposed Expanded Exposed Expanded Exposed Expanded Exposed Expanded Exposed Expanded Exposed Expanded
Commodity Type Group A Plastic Group A Plastic Group A Plastic Group A Plastic Group A Plastic Group A Plastic Group A Plastic
4.9 m (16 ft.) on 7.3 m (24 ft.) on 4.9 m (16 ft.) on 4.9 m (16 ft.) on 4.9 m (16 ft.) on
4.9 m (16 ft.) on 4.9 m (16 ft.) on
center – center - Main Array center - Main Array center - Main Array center - Main Array
Vertical Barriers Main Array (Non-
center - Main Array center - Main Array
(10 mm(3/8 in.) (10 mm (3/8 in. (10 mm (3/8 in. (10 mm (3/8 in.
(Non-combustible) (Non-combustible)
combustible) plywood) plywood) plywood) plywood)
Number of Blocked
Traverse Flue Spaces
18 12 72 98 60 None None
Length of Main
Storage Array, m ( ft.)
9.7 (32) 9.7 (32) 17 (56) 17 (56) 17 (56) 12.2 (40) 17 (56)
Nominal Height, m (ft.) 6.1 (20) 6.1 (20) 10. 7 (35) 12.2 (40) 9.1 (30) 9.1 (30) 10.7 (35)
Ceiling Height, m (ft.) 12.2 (40) 12.2 (40) 12.2 (40) 13.7 (45) 12.2 (40) 12.2 (40) 12.2 (40)
Aisle Width, m (ft.) 2.4 (8) 2.4 (8) 2.4 (8) 2.4 (8) 2.4 (8) 2.4 (8) 2.4 (8)
Between 2 Between 2 Sprinklers Between 2 Sprinklers Under 1 Sprinkler Under 1 Sprinkler Under 1 Sprinkler Between 2
Ignition Location (offset) (offset) (offset) (offset) Sprinklers (offset)
Sprinklers (offset) (offset)
Sprinkler Type ESFR ESFR ESFR ESFR ESFR ESFR ESFR
Sprinkler Orientation Pendent Pendent Pendent Pendent Pendent Pendent Pendent
Deflector to Ceiling, cm
(in.)
36 (14) 36 (14) 36 (14) 36 (14) 36 (14) 36 (14) 36 (14)
3 by 3(10 by 3 by 3(10 by 3 by 3(10 by 3 by 3(10 by
Sprinkler Spacing, m (ft.) 3 by 3 10 by 10) 3 by 3 10 by 10) 3 by 3 10 by 10)
10) 10) 10) 10)
Temp Rating, ºC (ºF) 100 (212) 101 (214) 101 (214) 101 (214) 101 (214) 101 (214) 101 (214)
Nominal Sprinkler
Discharge Coefficient K, 320 (22.4) 363 (25.2) 363 (25.2) 363 (25.2) 363 (25.2) 363 (25.2) 363 (25.2)
lpm/bar 0.5 (gpm/psig 0.5)
Nominal Discharge
Pressure, bar (psig)
3.4 (50) 4.1 (60) 4.1 (60) 4.1 (60) 4.1 (60) 4.1 (60) 4.1 (60)
dno dno Test 7 – Sprinkler Operations (7)
dno dno dno dno dno dno dno

dno dno dno dno dno dno dno dno dno

dno dno dno dno dno dno dno dno dno

dno dno dno dno 1:07 1:02 dno dno dno

dno dno dno dno 0:47 1:09 dno dno dno

dno dno dno 1:28 0:57 1:02 dno dno dno

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dno dno dno dno dno dno dno dno dno
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Test 7 – Main North Array Damage

25
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Test 7 – View from NE Balcony

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Test 8 – Main North Array Damage

27
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Fire Travel Past Vertical Barriers –
Commodity Extending Beyond Barrier

Vertical
Barrier 10 – 12.5 cm
(4 – 5 in.)
Exposed
Expanded
Group A
Plastic
(typical)

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FIRE TEST NUMBER Test 1 Test 2 Test 3 Test 5 Test 6 Test 7 Test 8
November 8, June 8,
Test Date July 9, 2012 July 13, 2012 July 18, 2012 October 31, 2012 June 19, 2014
2012 2013
Test Results
Length of Test, minutes 31 31 31 31 31 31 31
First Sprinkler Operation
0:39 0:44 0:52 0:47 0:48 0:47 0:48
Time, min:sec
Last Sprinkler Operation
8:23 3:21 1:45 1:39 4:35 1:28 2:28
Time, min:sec
Number of Operated
Sprinklers
12 6 10 18 11 7 7
Peak Gas Temperature at
Ceiling Above Ignition, ºC 296 (564) 292 (558) 614 (1138) 539 (1002) 116 (241) 212 (414) 469 (877)
(ºF)
Maximum 1 minute
Average Gas Temperature
124 (255) 104 (220) 178 (353) 254 (489) 66 (151) 88 (191) 151 (303)
at Ceiling Above Ignition,
ºC (ºF)
Peak Steel Temperature at
Ceiling Above Ignition, ºC 52 (126) 48 (119) 63 (145) 71 (160) 54 (129) 56 (133) 58 (136)
(ºF)
Maximum 1 minute
Average Steel Temperature
at Ceiling Above Ignition,
51 (124) 47 (117) 61 (141) 69 (156) 53 (127) 53 (127) 57 (134)
ºC (ºF)
Ignition Time of Target 1:01 1:27
Array, minutes:seconds
None None None
(North Target) (South Target) None None
Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fire29Travel to Extremities (North Target Array (South Target Array
of Test Array
(East and West (West end No Burned Through to Burned Through to No No
end of Main) of Main) Extremities) Extremities)
Testing Activity Subsequent to NFPA
Second Draft TC Meeting
• During the June 2014 Second Draft meeting of the NFPA TC on
Sprinkler System Discharge Criteria, several committee members
expressed concern that there was only one design criteria for a 40 ft.
high ceiling.

• Based upon the concern expressed by members of the TC, FPRF


worked quickly to solicit sponsors and organize a Technical Panel for
follow-on research to generate data to support sprinkler system
design criteria at a lower ceiling height.

• Based upon subsequent FPRF Technical Panel discussions, it was


agreed to conduct testing to support a design criteria for a 9.1 m (30
ft.) ceiling.
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Fire Protection Research Foundation
Project Team 9.1 m (30 ft.) Series
Sponsors Technical Panel
• Viking Sprinkler • Ken Linder, Swiss Re
• Tyco Fire and Building Products • Rich Pehrson, Rep. International
• Property Insurance Research Fire Marshals Association
Group • Jason Huczek, Southwest
Research Institute
Project Contractor • John Denhardt, Strickland Fire
• UL LLC Protection
• Matt Klaus, NFPA Staff Liaison
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Tests for 9.1 m (30 ft.) Design Criteria (Parameters)
FIRE TEST NUMBER Test 9 Test 10
Test Date Oct. 28, 2014 Oct. 30, 2014
Test Parameters
Storage Type Double Row Rack Double Row Rack
Commodity Type Exposed Expanded Group A Plastic Exposed Expanded Group A Plastic
4.9 m (16 ft.) on center - Main 4.9 m (16 ft.) on center - Main
Vertical Barriers Array Array
(10 mm (3/8 in. plywood) (10 mm (3/8 in. plywood)
Number of Blocked Traverse Flue Spaces None None
Length of Main Storage Array, m ( ft.) 9.7 (32) 9.7 (32)
Nominal Storage Height, m (ft.) 6.1 (20) 7.6(25)
Ceiling Height, m (ft.) 9.1 (30) 9.1 (30)
Aisle Width, m (ft.) 2.4 (8) 2.4 (8)
Ignition Location Under 1 Sprinkler (offset) Between 2 Sprinklers (offset)
Sprinkler Type ESFR ESFR
Sprinkler Orientation Pendent Pendent
Deflector to Ceiling, cm (in.) 36 (14) 36 (14)
Sprinkler Spacing, sprinkler by branchline, m (ft.) 3 by 3 (10 by 10) 3 by 3 (10 by 10)
Temperature Rating, ºC (ºF) 101 (214) 101 (214)
Nominal Sprinkler Discharge Coefficient K,
363 (25.2) 363 (25.2)
lpm/bar 0.5 (gpm/psig 0.5)
Nominal Discharge Pressure, bar (psig) 2 (30) 2 (30)
Tests Used to Establish 9.1 m (30 ft.)
Design Criteria
FIRE TEST NUMBER Test 9 Test 10
Test Date October 28, 2014 October 30, 2014
Test Results
Length of Test, minutes 31 31
First Sprinkler Operation
0:47 0:53
Time, min:sec
Last Sprinkler Operation
1:24 1:14
Time, min:sec
Number of Operated
Sprinklers
7 7
Peak Gas Temperature at
Ceiling Above Ignition, ºC (ºF)
96 (204) 532 (990)
Maximum 1 minute Average
Gas Temperature at Ceiling 59 (138) 247 (477)
Above Ignition, ºC (ºF)
Peak Steel Temperature at
Ceiling Above Ignition, ºC (ºF)
46 (114) 65 (149)
Maximum 1 minute Average
Steel Temperature at Ceiling 44 (112) 62 (144)
Above Ignition, ºC (ºF)
Ignition Time of Target Array,
minutes:seconds None None COPYRIGHT © 2016 UL LLC. ALL
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Test Array No No UNDERWRITERS LABORATORIES INC.
Tests Used to Establish Design Criteria
(12.2 and 9.1 m High Ceilings)
FIRE TEST NUMBER
Test Date
Test 2
July 13, 2012
Results
Test 7
June 8, 2013
Test 8
June 19, 2014
Test 9 Test 10
October 28, 2014 October 30, 2014
Test Results
Length of Test, minutes 31 31 31 31 31
First Sprinkler Operation
0:44 0:47 0:48 0:47 0:53
Time, min:sec
Last Sprinkler Operation Time,
3:21 1:28 2:28 1:24 1:14
min:sec
Number of Operated
Sprinklers
6 7 7 7 7
Peak Gas Temperature at
Ceiling Above Ignition, °F
292 (558) 212 (414) 469 (877) 96 (204) 532 (990)
Maximum 1 minute Average
Gas Temperature at Ceiling 104 (220) 88 (191) 151 (303) 59 (138) 247 (477)
Above Ignition, °F
Peak Steel Temperature at
Ceiling Above Ignition, °F
48 (119) 56 (133) 58 (136) 46 (114) 65 (149)
Maximum 1 minute Average
Steel Temperature at Ceiling 47 (117) 53 (127) 57 (134) 44 (112) 62 (144)
Above Ignition, °F
Ignition Time of Target Array,
minutes:seconds
None None None None None
Fire Travel to Extremities of Yes
34
Test Array
No No No No
(West end of Main)
NFPA 13-2016 Edition Including TIA
Key Criteria in Chapter 17
(Rack Stored Exposed, Expanded Plastics)
Criteria 12.2 m (40 ft.) Ceiling 9.1 m (30 Ft.) Ceiling
Maximum storage height 10.7 m (35 ft.) 7.6 m (25 ft.)
Minimum design pressure 4.1 bar (60 psi) 2.0 bar (30 psi)
Minimum aisle width 2.4 m (8 ft.)
Sprinkler K=363 (25.2) Pendent ESFR -Intermediate Temperature
Rated
Design area 12 most demanding sprinklers
Minimum water duration 60 minutes
Minimum hose allowance 945 Lpm (250 gpm)
Max vertical barrier distance 5 m (16.5 ft.)
Vertical barrier material 10 mm (3/8 in) plywood, 0.8 mm (22 gauge) steel or
equivalent
Max area between vertical barriers and 11.5 m2 (124 ft2)
aisles
Vertical barrier size Extend across longitudinal flue to the top of the storage
35
Commodity extension into aisle 101 mm (4 in.) allowed beyond barrier into aisle
Protection of Exposed Expanded
Plastics Stored in Racks
FPRF Reports can be found at:
www.nfpa.org/foundation
• Reports and Proceedings
• Suppression
• Applications
• Protection of Exposed
Expanded Group A Plastics
with ESFR Sprinklers and
Vertical Barriers

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Questions?

Kerry Bell
Corporate Fellow
UL LLC
kerry.m.bell@ul.com
847-664-2629

37