Fire Prevention & Protection

Polystyrene tests reveal need for added fire protection

Issue 3 and Volume 152.

Polystyrene tests reveal need for added fire protection Testing by Factory Mutual Research Corporation (FMRC) has revealed that standard, dry-pipe automatic sprinkler systems cannot adequately protect an area insulated with expanded polystyrene (EPS) core panels and must be retrofitted with additional sprinklers or have thermal barriers such as gypsum board applied. The recommendation for additional sprinklers will be incorporated in the revised Factory Mutual Property Loss Prevention Data Sheet 1-57, Rigid Plastic Building Materials. No other revisions were needed in the data sheet. FMRC testing has also shown that the lack of an FMRC-approved thermal barrier, not the polystyrene itself, is the real issue as far as fire safety is concerned. The foam insulating material polystyrene is used widely in warehouse walls and ceilings in North America, Europe, and Asia. According to FMRC, polystyrene melts like candle wax in a fire, potentially destroying the room it insulates; is twice as…

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