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Fire safe furniture in a sustainable perspective
RISE - Research Institutes of Sweden, Safety and Transport, Fire Research Norway.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3019-5510
RISE - Research Institutes of Sweden, Safety and Transport, Safety.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3019-0979
RISE - Research Institutes of Sweden, Safety and Transport, Safety.
RISE - Research Institutes of Sweden, Safety and Transport, Fire Research Norway.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4831-7563
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2019 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Loose furnishings, such as upholstered furniture, mattresses and textiles, are very important for the early stages of fires. Such products can be easily ignited, contribute to rapid spread of fire and produce a lot of smoke and heat when they burn. This limits the time and opportunity for evacuation and fire rescue. The regulation of fire properties of interior textiles, armchairs, sofas and mattresses has been discussed nationally and internationally for many years, without resulting in more stringent requirements for such products, at least not on a harmonized level. Fire safety and environmental considerations are important factors that are often set against each other. It is therefore important to promote the development of safe and fireproof furnishings that are environmentally friendly throughout their life cycle, and which satisfy other requirements that are usually imposed on this product group. The main objective of this project has been to contribute to new knowledge about how fire safety associated with loose interior design can be improved through developing products that meet sustainability and circularity requirements. These new products shall have fire performance comparable to flame retarded reference products but will rely on construction techniques and materials containing small amounts or no flame retardants. The new products shall be safe while in use and shall be recyclable at the end of life. Sustainability and environmental impact analyses including life cycle analyses of furnishing materials have been performed, as well as fire tests for screening the fire performance of a selection of material combinations. Combining a requirement for both sustainable yet fire safe furnishing is a complex task to solve. The more complex the material combination, the more difficult to predict both factors in parallel. Slight variations in components can potentially change the overall scoring of their performance. Cotton, wool and polyester has been shown to have equally high sustainability scores, although cotton had relatively high environmental impact. Polyamide was identified as the fabric with the best environmental performer but scoring lower on sustainability. The cushion material has great impact on fire safety because it may contribute with large amounts of heat energy and smoke. Polyurethane is by far the most common cushion material and comes in many variations, some including chemical fire retardants (FR). FR’s have not been included in in the sustainability and environmental impact analyses in this study, instead focus has been on exploring alternative methods of achieving comparable fire performance. In the case of cushion material, latex was identified as performing much higher on both sustainability and environmental impact than polyurethane. Unfortunately, latex was not a part of the fire testing series and was therefore not explored with regard to fire performance. Future studies should explore the interaction of the fire performance properties of different materials identified as high sustainability and environmental impact performers, especially in full scale room fire experiments. Thorough knowledge about how different components (of high sustainability and low environmental impact) contribute to the fire performance and how these are maintained throughout the furniture’s lifetime, would improve the possibility of fire safe furniture to be part of a circular economy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Trondheim, 2019. , p. 125
Series
RISE Rapport ; 2019-67
Keywords [en]
Fire safety, furnishing, sustainability, life cycle analysis, environmental impact
National Category
Textile, Rubber and Polymeric Materials
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ri:diva-39962ISBN: 978-91-88907-94-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ri-39962DiVA, id: diva2:1354725
Funder
Brandforsk, 702-171Available from: 2019-09-26 Created: 2019-09-26 Last updated: 2019-09-27Bibliographically approved

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Storesund, KarolinaAmon, FrancineSteen-Hansen, Anne
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