Technical Panel Previews Materials and Products Database
The technical panel for UL’s Fire Safety Research Institute (FSRI) Materials and Products Database project reconvened in November 2022 to preview development of the database. As part of a three-year research grant funded by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the Materials and Products Database is an interactive web-based repository of experimental data and material properties generated through testing common contemporary products and materials found in the built environment.
National fire investigation experts, fire researchers, consultants, and firefighters attended the virtual meeting. The group represents a range of forensic specialties in the public, private, academic, and research sectors to guide the application of the data to the fire modeling and fire investigation communities.
FSRI research engineer, Mark McKinnon, began the meeting with a demonstration of the database in its current stage of development and explained the experimental methodologies that went into collecting data. The materials and products characterized and tested for the database were selected by the technical panel at an earlier meeting to maximize the usefulness of the database to fire investigators and model practitioners. Testing and evaluation parameters were established through a scientific literature review and consensus standards under advisement of the technical panel.
Data featured within the database originates from experiments conducted at the FSRI materials properties laboratory on a variety of building material categories such as 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. When complete, the database will present directly measured properties as well as derived properties for the fire investigation, fire research, and fire modeling communities to reference and download. The data can be used to enhance insight into computational models by testing hypotheses about potential fire scenarios by predicting fire growth and spread and/or smoke movement. Photography and videos are included to help users select the best material for their needs. Interactive HTML graphs and tabular data will display important values such as heat release rates, carbon monoxide yield, thermal conductivity, and mass loss rate.
Following the demonstration, the technical panel was invited to browse the database and return with any additional comments or questions. The Materials and Products Database is scheduled for release in early 2023 at the conclusion of the period of performance for the NIJ grant. FSRI will continue to experiment on materials and products from the built environment and data will be added to the Materials and Products Database as it becomes available.
The Materials and Products Database is the output from FSRI research project, Development of an Interactive Database of Contemporary Materials Properties for Fire Modeling. 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 publication / program / exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Justice.