Published in Fire Technology, Vol. 54 (6), pp 1783-1805, 2018
The tendency of the polymers to melt and drip when they are exposed to external heat source play a very important role in the ignition and the spread of fire. Numerical simulation is a promising methodology for predicting this behaviour. In this paper, a computational procedure that aims at analyzing the combustion, melting and flame spread of polymer is presented. The method models the polymer using a Lagrangian framework adopting the particle finite element method framework while the surrounding air is solved on a fixed Eulerian mesh. This approach allows to treat naturally the polymer shape deformations and to solve the thermo-mechanical problem in a staggered fashion. The problems are coupled using an embedded Dirichlet–Neumann scheme. A simple combustion model and a radiation modeling strategy are included in the air domain. With this strategy the burning of a polypropylene specimen under UL-94 vertical test conditions is simulated. Input parameters for the modelling (density, specific heat, conductivity and viscosity) and results for the validation of the numerical model has been obtained from different literature sources and by IMDEA burning a specimen of dimensions of . Temperature measurements in the polymer have been recorder by means of three thermocouples exceeding the . Simultaneously a digital camera was used to record the burning process. In addition, thermal decomposition of the material (Arrhenius coefficient and activation energy ) as and changes in viscosity () as a function of temperature were obtained. Finally, a good agreement between the experimental and the numerical can be seen in terms of shape of the polymer as well as in the temperature evolution inside the polymer.