Fire Tests Conducted To Measure Heat, O2 Levels

Issue 6 and Volume 134.

Fire Tests Conducted To Measure Heat, O2 Levels features What temperatures can you expect to encounter in a dwelling fire? How low will the percentage of oxygen drop when the fire goes into the third, or smoldering, stage? To get some answers, we conducted two confined fire tests in separate rooms of a single family house with the aid of the Minnetonka, Minn., Fire Department. Prior data suggests that these temperatures can reach 1300°F and the oxygen level can drop below 15 percent during the third stage. These figures varied based on fire load. For the tests, the fire load consisted of wood and paper products. Plastics were not introduced. Type K thermocouples (T/C) were inserted at the top, middle and bottom of an exterior wall. Each T/C extended into the room about 4 inches and the hole was sealed with insulation. A 1/4-inch copper tube was also inserted through…

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