FPE Seminar: Development, evolution & benchmarking of the Milligram-scale Flame Calorimeter

Wednesday, September 15, 2021
9:30 a.m.
Fire and Risk Alliance Conference Room (3106 JMP)
Christine O'Brien

Title:  Development, evolution, and benchmarking of the Milligram-scale Flame Calorimeter

Speaker: Fernando Raffan-Montoya, Ph.D.


Increased use of polymeric materials across a wide range of industries and applications have made these materials ubiquitous in today’s society. However, the inherent flammability of polymeric materials is an ongoing fire safety challenge, and some of the widely implemented solutions to this challenge have also exhibited negative environmental and health impacts. While there are several strategies aimed at reducing the flammability of these materials, as well as addressing environmental and health concerns of existing approaches (including, but not limited to novel polymers, gas-phase and condensed-phase flame retardant additives, flame retardant synergists, halogenated flame retardant replacements, etc.), characterizing the flammability performance of these strategies remains a costly endeavor due to the required sample sizes and sample fabrication and preparation times. The Milligram-Scale Flame Calorimeter (MFC) was developed to address these issues, allowing for the measurement of key flammability parameters such as peak heat release rate, total heat release and heat of combustion, solid residue and solid product yields of flaming combustion using milligram-sized solid fuel samples which can be prepared in-situ. In this fashion, the MFC not only provides quantitative information that can be used to provide insight into the physical mechanisms governing the observed flammability behavior of tested materials but can also be used as a screening tool operating in a cost-effective, highly repeatable manner. This seminar will present the development history of the Milligram-scale Flame Calorimeter, its evolution, and its benchmarking against other laboratory-scale flammability measurement techniques such as Cone Calorimetry and Pyrolysis Combustion Flow Calorimetry. A methodology for screening flame retardants using MFC will be discussed along with additional research applications of the instrument, highlighting its versatility.    


Dr. Raffan-Montoya holds a BS in Aerospace Engineering from the Florida Institute of Technology and an MS and PhD in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park. More recently, he has served as Faculty Specialist in the Department of Fire Protection Engineering, where he has taught courses in Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer, supervised the shared research and instructional facilities, and served as the lead engineer for the Fire Testing and Evaluation Center (FireTEC) performing standard and R&D tests for external customers.

Audience: Campus 

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