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Abstract

Abstract
This thesis is concerned with basic studies on a suitable coating that enables
protection of the existing Expanded Polystyrene (EPS or Thermocole) under-deck roofing
during occurrence of fire. The coated EPS is also tested for its performance towards fire using
enclosure fire studies in small and large size rooms. The objective of this work originates
from an examination of fire accidents involving the use of expanded polystyrene under-deck
roofs leading to loss of life and loss of property in public places like hotels and shopping
places.

The aim is to evolve a strategy to protect existing EPS-based roofing systems at an affordable
low cost. The technique involves thin coating of gypsum / plaster of paris (PoP) over low
(~45) GSM paper, by a process that helps prevention of the dripping during fire event, thus
improving fire safety. Several methods of coating gypsum over EPS were also tried to
optimize the layer loading of protective coating to the EPS board with improved aesthetics.

Initial trials with a coating layer of ~ 2 mm gypsum reinforced with a porous paper
found to hold the kerosene pool fire ignition source with a predetermined power of range 25
to 35 kW for a period of about 30 minutes in 1m3 cubical room while under identical
conditions the uncoated roofing got burnt in less than 80s.

Fire studies carried out in a large room size of dimension 8.5 m × 5 m × 2.5 m with
coated EPS roofing using centrally located pool fires of different power levels ranging from
100 kW to 315 kW. Response of coated EPS to room ignition sources at various strengths
and chosen scales of fire power are determined with an emphasis to egress time. The
maximum power the coated roof could take up is found to be with a centrally located pool
fire with a power of ~315 kW for a period ~ 3 minutes. Smoke layer height is found to get
stabilized to a level of about 1.4 m from the floor for the pool fires ranging up to 315 kW for
the experimental room with a vertical door opening of 1 m (W) × 2 m (H).

Computational studies are conducted to predict the temperature profiles and heat flux
at different locations of the enclosures, both on 1 m3 cubical room as well as the large sized

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Abstract

room. These were conducted using Fire Dynamic Simulator (FDS), a widely used
Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) based open /free software tool available from National
Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) website. The predicted results are compared
with experimental results that show reasonable comparison. When the comparisons are
considered not satisfactory, explanations are attempted.

The present studies bring out that gypsum coating on existing uncoated EPS-roof is
possible and to ensure egress time of 3 minutes in case of fire, the maximum possible fire
power in a given size room is also determined using the data from the cases studied. It is also
inferred that a fire study conducted in this manner could provide valuable information in
terms of life safety, equipment safety and protection of valuable items in a given enclosure.
Further it can also help in designing the fire protection systems.

This thesis comprises of seven chapters. Chapter 1 introduces various types of materials
including EPS and method of roof insulation that are in practice. Types of EPS, their
properties and behavior towards fire, applicable codes and standards related to EPS, existing
fire protection techniques and the need for fire protection of existing EPS under deck roofings
are discussed. Experiments conducted by various authors using pool fires to check the fire
performance of EPS and their validation through simulations are discussed. Chapter 2 is on
the market survey, existing usage of EPS and preliminary studies of the locally purchased
materials. Importance of fire protection and opportunity for fire proof coating of the existing
roofs with EPS false ceiling tiles are discussed. Chapter 3 discusses in detail about Tools and
Techniques that are employed in the studies. Chapter 4 is about the experimental studies that
are conducted in 1m3 cubical room. Results of coated and uncoated EPS roofings are
discussed. Chapter 5 discusses the experimental studies that are conducted in the large scale
room with a view to understand the coated EPS roofing’s performance to fire of large scale.
Effect of location of ignition source with respect to the door opening on air entrainment, gas
layer temperature & velocities at door way and smoke layer height are studied with emphasis
to safe egress timings. Chapter 6 details on the fire simulations using the fire dynamic
simulator and comparison of the results obtained with that of the experimental data. Chapter
7 gives an overview of the work, the advantages and limitations of the fire proof coating for
existing EPS roofing.

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