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Abstract: To maximize the energy efficiency of a building, and to minimize its carbon footprint, novel insulants have been extensively studied. Novel insulants such as phase change materials (PCMs) and hemp-lime insulation are proven to have extremely low thermal conductance. However, because these insulants are novel, they unfortunately have not been tested for fire safety. The purpose of this study was to create a fire framework to enable researchers to test novel materials capability to withstand fire. Multiple tests, bench scale test (fire risk), micro-scale test (chemical reactions) and intermediate-scale test (realistic fire scenario), were performed to determine the characteristics of insulation when exposed to fire. A thermal analyzer was used to determine the thermal properties of each sample and a holistic method approach was performed to analyze the insulants burning and spread rate, time until ignition, minimum energy required to sustain smolder and gas emission. From the information provided with these tests, the researchers prepared a simplified design method, making it easier to realize the potential of insulation samples, without intense, physical testing.

Reference: Doctorate Thesis - University of Edinburgh (2016)