Burning behaviour of rainscreen façades

Jones, Nicola orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-1985-5266, Peck, Gabrielle, Mckenna, Sean Thomas, Glockling, Jim L.D., Harbottle, John, Stec, Anna A orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-6861-0468 and Hull, T Richard orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7970-4208 (2021) Burning behaviour of rainscreen façades. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 403 . p. 123894. ISSN 0304-3894

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2020.123894


Four reduced-height (5 m) BS 8414-1 façade flammability tests were conducted, three having mineral-filled aluminium composite material (ACM-A2) with polyisocyanurate (PIR) and phenolic (PF) foam and stone wool (SW) insulation, the fourth having polyethylene-filled ACM (ACM-PE) with PIR insulation. Each façade was constructed from a commercial façade engineer’s design, and built by practising façade installers. The ACM-PE/PIR façade burnt so ferociously it was extinguished after 13.5 min, for safety. The three ACM-A2 cladding panels lost their structural integrity, and melted away from the test wall, whereupon around 40% of both the combustible PIR and PF insulation burnt and contributed to the fire spread. This demonstrates why all façade products must be non-combustible, not just the outer panels. For the three ACM-A2 tests, while the temperature in front of the cavity was independent of the insulation, the temperatures within it varied greatly, depending on the insulation. The system using PF/A2 allowed fire to break through to the cavity first, as seen by a sharp increase in temperature after 17 min. For PIR/A2, the temperature increased sharply at 22 minutes, as the panel started to fall away from the wall. For SW/A2, no rapid temperature rise was observed.

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