Modelling the vertical UL 94 test: competition and collaboration between melt dripping, gasification and combustion



An experimental and numerical investigation of the effect of bisphenol A bis(diphenyl phosphate) (BDP) and polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) on the fire behaviour of bisphenol A polycarbonate/acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (PC/ABS) in the vertical UL 94 scenario is presented. Four PC/ABS blends were discussed, which satisfy different UL 94 classifications due to the competing effects of gasification, charring, flame inhibition and melt flow/dripping. For numerical investigation, the particle finite element method (PFEM) is used. Its capability to model the complex fire behaviour of polymers in the UL 94 is analysed. The materials' properties are characterised, in particular the additives impact on the dripping behaviour during thermal exposure. BDP is an efficient plasticiser; adding PTFE prevents dripping by causing a flow limit. PFEM simulations reproduce the dripping and burning behaviour, in particular the competition between gasification and dripping. The thermal impact of both the burner and the flame is approximated taking into account flame inhibition, charring and effective heat of combustion. PFEM is a promising numerical tool for the investigation of the fire behaviour of polymers, particularly when large deformations are involved. Not only the principal phenomena but also the different UL 94 classifications and the extinction times are well predicted. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.