Correlation between charring rate and oxygen permeability for 12 different wood species

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The charring rates of 12 different wood species originating from Europe and the tropics with densities ranging from 350 to 750kg/m3 were investigated to obtain clues on their fire resistance behavior. This was done by measuring the thickness of the charred layer after a 30-min exposure to the standard fire ISO 834-1. No correlation was observed between charring rate and density. In search of another physical property that could be used as an indicator of fire resistance, the oxygen permeabilities of the selected wood types were measured. A strong correlation between oxygen permeability perpendicular to the wood fiber direction and charring rate was found, which is quite straightforward given that oxygen is the necessary component to enable smoldering and ignition, both affecting the charring rate. It seems that oxygen permeability is potentially more suitable as a parameter to evaluate the fire resistance of char-sensitive wooden constructions, rather than density. No general preference of the tree ring orientation from 0° (tangential) to 45° and 90° (radial) was found for these measurements.

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