• fire growth;
  • flexible polyurethane foam;
  • heat release rate;
  • isocyanate;
  • polyol;
  • two stage pyrolysis


A series of experiments designed to characterize fire behavior on flat 1.2 m × 1.2 m samples of commercial non-fire-retarded flexible polyurethane foam were performed. Time-resolved heat release and mass loss rates were measured. Experimental parameters varied, including foam thickness (5.1 and 10.2 cm) and burning angle (+25°, +12.5°, 0°, −12.5°, and −25°). Polyurethane foam is typically produced by reacting a multifunctional isocyanate with a polyol. The foam used here was formed by reacting toluene diisocyanate and a polyol based on a condensed polyether of polypropylene oxide. Earlier cone calorimeter studies of this foam had revealed a clear two stage pyrolysis behavior in which the heated foam first released a gaseous fuel derived from the isocyanate component, while leaving behind a liquid produced primarily from the polyol, which only gasified and burned following additional heating. The subsequent burning behavior of the polyol-derived liquid is shown in this work to play a crucial role in the maximum heat release rate and total heat released by the fires spreading across the foam slabs. Published 2013. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.