Wood is an aesthetically pleasing, sustainable and widely used material in buildings (structure and finishings) and furniture, but is in all cases potentially flammable. When subject to heat the natural polymers in wood (cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin) decompose to volatile gases, tar (levoglucosan) and aromatic carbons.
Fire safety protection of wood is therefore necessary to avoid ignition and prevent fires starting and spreading, reduce toxic smoke emissions and protect the structural properties of timber in construction. This complete overview of wood flammability behaviour summarises wood fire chemistry, testing methods and regulation and developments in wood fire retardant systems. All the flame retardants identified as solutions for sustainable wood fire safety are PIN, including combinations of phosphorus, nitrogen and silicon based compounds, metal salts, metal hydrates and carbonates, graphite / expandable graphite and bio-sourced materials such as whey proteins.
“Review: Flammability behaviour of wood and a review of the methods for its reduction”, L. A. Lowden & T. R. Hull, Fire Science Reviews 2013, 2:4 http://www.firesciencereviews.com/content/2/1/4