Fire Technology

, Volume 52, Issue 5, pp 1575–1593 | Cite as

Ignition, Heat Release Rate and Suppression of Elastomeric Materials

  • Norman Alvares
  • Harry Hasegawa
  • Kirk Staggs


The focus of this paper is to determine flammability characteristics of rubber materials that are common to vehicle tires, conveyor belts, and electrical power cable insulation and to compare the thermal magnitude of cargo quantities of these materials to other fuels that are publicly transported. Although a literature review was performed, very little data was fo und on this topic. Standard flammability test procedures were used to measure the critical flux for ignition, critical ignition temperature, and heat release rates (HRR) of rubber compounds common to tire tread materials and conveyor belt covers. Both the intermediate scale calorimeter: ISO 14696, ASTM E-1623 (ICAL) and the cone calorimeter: ISO E-5660, ASTM 1354 (Cone) provided the bulk of the data. Critical ignition flux and vertical flame spread data for rubber based electrical insulations were determined using a radiant panel from a modified ASTM flame spread apparatus: ASTM E-162. thermogravimetric analysis was also used to evaluate thermal decomposition progression of selected test materials. Further, suppression tests were conducted on tire piles to evaluate agents to extinguish and control tire fires. Also, the HRR of the tire piles were measured and compared to work performed by others. Results confirm that the area heat release rate of rubber materials is directly proportional to exposure flux intensity. The critical exposure flux for ignition of a variety of rubber-based materials is approximately 20 kW/m2 to 30 kW/m2 and the critical temperature for piloted and non-piloted ignition were independent of exposure intensity at ~400°C and ~600°C respectively. In large quantities, rubber tire loads have total HRR comparable to the heat released from similar areas of liquid hydrocarbon spills.


Tire fires heat release rate Flammability Suppression Ignition 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fire Science ApplicationSan CarlosUSA
  2. 2.FireQuestOaklandUSA
  3. 3.LivermoreUSA

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