Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Fire Protection Engineering


Fire Protection Engineering


College of Engineering


Richard Emberley

Advisor Department

Fire Protection Engineering

Advisor College

College of Engineering


The characterization of flammability parameters such as time to ignition, mass loss rate (MLR), and extinction criteria is critical for understanding ignition and burning behavior of timber products. These parameters, often determined with bench scale experiments, have previously been presented in literature. However, standard test methods generally use relatively low trial quantities (e.g., n=3) which can potentially cause large variation in reported values. This study investigates the influence of trial quantity on observed statistical variation in key flammability metrics for timber products (e.g., ignition time, peak MLR, MLR at extinction). Using a conical heater, 100 repeat trials were conducted at incident heat exposures of 20 kW/m2, 40 kW/m2, and 50 kW/m2 on 12.7 mm thick ACX cross laminated plywood samples. Ignition time data was found to exhibit significant positive skew and 20-30 trials were required for the reduction in uncertainty with each additional trial to fall below 0.1s at each heat flux. The normalized uncertainty in ignition time was greatest at 50 kW/m2 and was 20-70% than at 20 kW/m2 and 40 kW/m2. Significant variability was observed in the extinction characteristics of samples exposed to 40 kW/m2 where 39 samples experienced self-extinction while the remainder sustained combustion until burnout. Uncertainty in MLR at extinction for these trials was nearly double that of trials exposed to 20 kW/m2. These results exhibit the significance of large trial quantities when determining flammability characteristics.