Characterization of flammability parameters of cork by the mass loss calorimeter technique


Abstract: Cork samples from oak Algerian forests (Quercus suber) have been selected to carry out flammability tests. A Mass Loss Calorimeter (MLC) device was used to characterize Heat Release Rate (HRR) and temperature. Results confirm that the flaming combustion of cork is slower than other forest fuels showing high combustion efficiency close to the AEHC (Average Effective Heat of Combustion) of vegetal carbon (30 MJ/kg). The average results explain the lower consumability of cork during flaming phase (average RMF 34%) with regard to other vegetal materials like wood. The time to reach lethal temperatures at the belly of the sample was approximately four minutes. These values suggest higher fire resistance of cork than other types of tree barks. The ignition times and the time it takes the belly of the corkback to reach 60 °C (tT60) are the variables with the highest range. TTi ranged between 61 and 118 s (approximately 1 to 2 minutes) and tT60 between 137 and 379 seconds (approximately 2 to 6 minutes). These results subsequently revealed a direct correlation between the thickness and the volumetric density of cork.

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