The Model of Burning of Corrugated Cardboard
Mark B. McKinnon
Corrugated cardboard is the main material used to package and store industrial and consumer products. In storage facilities, cardboard frequently represents the primary fuel for accidental fires. Thus, it is important to understand the ignition and burning characteristics of this material and develop a model capable of predicting the burning behavior for a wide range of fire scenarios.
Thermogravimetric analysis and differential scanning calorimetry were conducted on pulverized cardboard to determine the thermal decomposition mechanism, the enthalpy of decomposition reactions, and the heat capacities of all apparent species. Cone calorimetry tests (see figure above) were performed to observe the flaming combustion and smoldering of this material. The cone tests were done at external radiant heat fluxes ranging from 20 to 80 kW m-2. Additional heat flux from the flame was determined to be about 30 kW m-2. These tests were accompanied by temperature measurements inside the pyrolyzing samples. The temperature histories were used to determine heat transport properties of this material and the property changes associated with the thermal degradation process.
The ThermaKin modeling environment (Stoliarov and Lyon, Federal Aviation Administration Technical Note, DOT/FAA/AR-TN08/17) was employed to analyze the milligram- and bench-scale experiments. The parameterized material model was shown to be able to predict the experimental temperature and burning rate histories as demonstrated in the figure below. The current work is focused on investigating the role of direct, heterogeneous oxidation of the initial cardboard material and solid products of its decomposition in the overall combustion process.
Mark McKinnon is a Master’s Student of the A. James Clark School of Engineering. For further information about his research, he can be contacted at: