If timber is protected from direct attack by a fire source, it cannot ignite and burn until the surface temperature reaches at least 400°C. Once ignited, timber burns steadily at a predictable rate and, in the process, charcoal is formed on the surface of the wood which serves to insulate and protect the core. The thermal insulation properties of timber are such that timber just a few millimetres inside the burning outer layer is only warm (in contrast to high thermal conductivity materials such as metals).
Timber burns steadily at a predictable rate and charcoal formed on the surface of the wood serves to insulate and protect the core.
Reaction to fire and resistance to fire are the two key areas to consider when looking at the performance of a material when exposed to fire.
Reaction to fire is a measure of how easy it is to ignite that product and also how that material contributes to the fire development and spread.
The reaction to fire performance of timber and wood-based panel products is improved with the use of fire retardant coatings.