The flammability of textiles when contaminated with paraffin base products

Hall, Sarah and Franklin, Leonie and Bull, Jason and Beard, Alan and Phillips, G. and Morrissey, Joanne (2019) The flammability of textiles when contaminated with paraffin base products. Fire Safety Journal, 104. pp. 109-116. ISSN 1873-7226

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Several fire related deaths have been reported and linked with the use of paraffin base skin creams/emollients. However, no scientific research has been published on the flammability of textiles when contaminated with such products. Therefore, this paper presents initial flammability tests results to assess the difference in burn potential when textiles are contaminated to provide a better understanding of the fire risk. Tests were conducted on 100% cotton and 52% polyester/48% cotton when contaminated with two paraffin-based products. The time to ignition (ignition time), the flame time and once self-extinguished, the glowing combustion were measured, using a non-direct contact ignition source. The ignition time when the textiles were contaminated were significantly decreased i.e. 100% cotton sheeting ignition time was 68.0 ± 29.6s and when contaminated for 24 h s with 27.1% paraffin based cream reduced to 6.0 ± 0.7s (p = 0.001). The glowing combustion time for the 52% polyester/48% cotton sheeting of 96.4 ± 23.9s when contaminated with 27.1% paraffin based cream for 24 h, increased to 173 ± 27.4s (p < 0.001). Therefore, the results show that there is a significant decrease in ignition time of textiles when contaminated with paraffin based products and suggest that the underlying textile structure behaves as a wick to increase volatility for quicker ignition. This could impact on the time that someone is able to react when they accidently expose their contaminated clothing to a flame. Glowing combustion time also increased when the textiles were contaminated, which subsequently could increase the likelihood of severe skin burns.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: flammability, contaminated textiles, fire risk, skin emollients, paraffin-based products
Faculty: Faculty of Science & Engineering
Depositing User: Ian Walker
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2019 14:50
Last Modified: 25 Jan 2022 13:39

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