FSRI Materials and Product Database Hero

New Materials and Products Database Addresses Knowledge Gaps

May 1, 2023

UL’s Fire Safety Research Institute (FSRI) Materials and Products (MaP) Database is now online.  An interactive, web-based repository, the MaP Database is populated with data from rigorous testing of the most common contemporary products and materials found in the modern built environment. The built environment is comprised of many different materials, some natural such as wood and plant fibers, and some synthetic such as plastics and resin-based composite materials. For many of these materials, detailed knowledge of their fire behavior is limited or non-existent. Without a robust and extensive database of the material properties, ignition parameters, and burning behavior of a wide range of materials, fire investigators are limited in the science that can be applied to understanding a fire scene. The MaP Database was developed to address the knowledge gap regarding properties, ignition parameters, and burning behavior of contemporary products and materials commonly found in the modern built environment. Specific areas of research include:

  • adequate materials data inputs for accurate computer models
  • understanding the effect of materials properties on the development and interpretation of fire patterns
  • evaluation of incident heat flux profiles to walls and neighboring items in support of fire model validation

Each of these research topics rely, in part, on accurate knowledge of the physical conditions of a material prior to the fire, how the material will respond to the exposure of heat, and how it will perform once it has ignited. The project has made advancements in collecting experimental data and property information for the purpose of making the data publicly available and easily accessible to fire investigators, fire protection engineers, and fire researchers.

The data available within the MaP Database is divided into eleven categories: roofing, exterior siding, structural materials, insulation, plumbing, cable, engineered wood, upholstered furniture, sleeping products such as mattresses and sheets, general polymers, and interior finishes such as vinyl tile, cotton, and rayon. Over 100 materials have been tested to populate the categories. Additional materials will be added to the MaP Database as more standard fire test data and property data are measured.

Fire investigation, fire research, and fire modeling communities can access the MaP Database to enhance insight into computational data such as ignition temperatures and melting temperatures, inputs to models used to test hypotheses about potential fire scenarios, predict fire growth and spread and smoke movement, and much more. The MaP Database is the output from FSRI’s research project, Development of an Interactive Database of Contemporary Material Properties for Fire Modeling.

Access the MaP Database

The MaP Database Technical Reference Guide outlines FSRI’s experimental procedures and data analysis approaches including estimated uncertainty in the measurements that have been adopted to collect the data for selected materials. The analytical procedures through which the properties were extracted from the collected data provide users of the database with context for the available data. There is no expectation or requirement that users of the database utilize the same analytical methods that are described in this work, rather the included methods and techniques constitute technically defensible recommendations for the fire modeling and investigation communities.

This project is supported in part by Award No. 2019-DU-BX-0018, awarded by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Justice.

Development of an Interactive Database of Contemporary Material Properties for Fire Modeling
Thermal Decomposition of Materials