About the Research
The built environment is comprised of many different materials, some natural such as wood and plant fibers, and some synthetic such as plastics and resin-based composite materials. For many materials, detailed knowledge of their fire behavior is limited or non-existent. Without a robust and extensive database of the material properties, ignition parameters, and burning behavior of a wide range of materials, fire investigators are limited in the science that can be applied to understanding a fire scene.
To address this knowledge gap, UL’s Fire Safety Research Institute (FSRI) developed the Materials and Products (MaP) Database. This is an interactive, web-based repository populated with data from rigorous testing of the contemporary products and materials commonly found in the modern built environment.
The MaP is divided into eleven categories: roofing, exterior siding, structural materials, insulation, plumbing, cable, engineered wood, upholstered furniture, sleeping products such as mattresses and sheets, general polymers, and interior finishes such as vinyl tile, cotton, and rayon. Over 100 materials have been tested to populate the categories. Additional materials will be added to the MaP as more standard fire test data and property data are measured.
Fire investigation, fire research, and fire modeling communities can access the MaP Database to enhance insight into computational data such as ignition temperatures and melting temperatures, inputs to models used to test hypotheses about potential fire scenarios, predict fire growth and spread and smoke movement, and much more. The MaP Database is the output from FSRI’s research project, Development of an Interactive Database of Contemporary Material Properties for Fire Modeling.
Key Objectives of this Research Project
- Measure material properties and fire test data on a combination of at least 70 construction materials, interior finishes, and furnishings for use as fire model input.
- Develop an online database which provides adequate detail to enable accurate use of the data as input to a fire investigation analysis.
- Demonstrate the use of the database for hypothesis testing.
This literature review provides the technical approach to developing the materials database for use in fire investigations and computational fire models. A summary of the input from the project technical panel is presented which guided the initial selection of materials to be included in the database as well as the selection of test measurements
FSRI assembled a technical panel of national fire investigation experts, fire researchers, consultants, and firefighters to provide direction for the project.
The initial stage of this project was supported in part by Award No. 2019-DU-BX-0018, awarded by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication / program / exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Justice.