Forensic Engineering Analysis Of Low Temperature Ignition Of Wood
AbstractThe Phenomena Of Wood Igniting When Exposed For Extended Periods Of Time To Temperatures Below Woods Published Ignition Temperature Value Has Been Of Considerable Interest In Recent Years. The Interest Spans The Fire Investigative, Engineering, And Fire Science Communities All The Way To The Legal System. A Recent Federal Court Ruling Has Introduced Aggravated Controversy On The Subject, Casting Doubt On The Phenomena. While There Are Presently No Scientific Formulas To Reliably Predict The Occurrence, There Is Substantial Empirical Data Which Demonstrates That It Does In Fact Occur. The Purpose Of This Paper Is To Report On Certain Empirical Case Studies, Research Activities, And Experiments Undertaken Which Clearly Demonstrate That Wood Will Ignite When Exposed For An Extended Period Of Time To Temperatures Well Below Its Commonly Recognized Published Ignition Temperature Of Approximately 482 F (250 C). In Particular, It Was Concluded For The Conditions Studied That Ignition Of Wood Occurred Under Exposure Temperatures Of As Low As 256 F When Exposed 12 To 16 Hours Per Day In As Little As 623 Days Or Approximately 21 Months. Data From Three Well-Documented Restaurant Kitchen Fires And Observations Of Wood Located Behind Heated Wall Mounted Appliances In Three Operating Restaurants, Combined With Laboratory And Manufacturer Testing Are Used To Demonstrate That Low Temperature Ignition Of Wood Clearly Occurs.
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