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Investigating the Vulnerabilities of Structures to Ignition From a Firebrand Attack

Manzello, S.L., Shields, J.R., Hayashi, Y. and Nii, D., 2008. Investigating the Vulnerabilities of Structures to Ignition From a Firebrand Attack. Fire Safety Science 9: 143-154. doi:10.3801/IAFSS.FSS.9-143


A unique experimental apparatus, known as the Firebrand Generator, was used to generate a controlled and repeatable size and mass distribution of glowing firebrands. The size and mass distribution of firebrands produced from the generator was selected to be representative of firebrands produced from burning vegetation. The vulnerability of roofing materials to firebrand attack was ascertained using fluxes of firebrands produced using this device. The experiments were performed at the Fire Research Wind Tunnel Facility (FRWTF) at the Building Research Institute (BRI) in Tsukuba, Japan. A custom mounting assembly was constructed to support full scale sections of common roofing materials inside the FRWTF. The sections constructed for testing included full roofing assemblies (base layer, tar paper, and shingles) as well as only the base layer material, such as oriented strand board (OSB). The custom mounting assembly allowed for the construction of flat roofs as well as the construction of angled roofs (valleys). Results of this study are presented and discussed.

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