Fire retardant treatment of wood
Rowell, Roger M. Department of Biological Systems Engineering, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin.
- Testing fire retardancy
- Theories of fire retardancy
- Commercial fire retardants
- Additional Readings
Wood decomposes by two different mechanisms upon heating and when exposed to an ignition source. The first mechanism, which is dominant at temperatures below 300°C (572°F), involves the degradation of the wood polymers by the breaking of internal chemical bonds; dehydration (elimination of water); formation of free radicals and carbonyl, carboxyl, and hydroperoxide groups; formation of carbon monoxide (CO) and carbon dioxide (CO2); and, finally, the formation of reactive carbonaceous char (charcoal). Oxidation of the reactive char results in smoldering or glowing combustion, and further oxidation of the combustible volatile gases gives rise to flaming combustion.
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