Efectis study suggests mineral wool spreads fire faster than polymer insulation. The study was part funded by Kingspan, manufacturer of one of the insulation cladding products which burnt in the Grenfell Tower fire. The three-part paper (total 55 pages) models the spread of fire in Grenfell Tower considering fire development in the initial flat (where the fire stared in a fridge/freezer), spread out through the window and over the building façade. Modelling is based on data such as specific heat of different materials and results are calibrated using data from the Grenfell fire and from other fires and fire tests. The study states that a fire modelled with mineral wool insulation shows the same spread for nearly 15 minutes as with the PIR (polyisocyanurate) polymer foam actually used in the Grenfell refurbishment and involved in the tragic fire and that after than “the fire spread is faster for the model with mineral wool”. In both cases, the external cladding modelled was ACM-PE (aluminium composite material – polyethylene). The model also concludes that the PIR insulation material only (without any cladding) would have spread the fire only between two floors and would have self-extinguished.
E. Guillaume et al., Fire and Materials 2020, “Reconstruction of Grenfell Tower fire”, parts 1, 2 and 3:
– part 1: Lessons from observations and determination of work hypotheses, 44:3–14, https://doi.org/10.1002/fam.2766
– part 2: A numerical investigation of the fire propagation and behaviour from the initial apartment to the façade, Fire and Materials. 2020;44:15–34, https://doi.org/10.1002/fam.2765
– part 3: Numerical simulation of the Grenfell Tower disaster: – Contribution to the understanding of the fire propagation and behaviour during the vertical fire spread”, 44:35–57, https://doi.org/10.1002/fam.2763