Ignitability of beds and bedding

Liisa Pakkala

Research output: Book/ReportReport

1 Citation (Scopus)


The object of this project was to study different methods to test the flammability of a bed and its components in order to find out appropriate methods for the NORDTEST. The textile products, like ticking and bed linen materials and blankets, were tested using typical flammability tests for textiles (like SIS 650082, SIS 650083, Semi-circular frame test). The mattresses were tested with three types of cigarette tests: cigarette as such and covered with non-smoulderable insulation (glass fibre batting) or with smoulderable insulation (cotton wool). A butane flame and a methenamine tablet were used as flame ignition sources for mattresses. Experiments were also carried out using a burning mini pillow as a secondary ignition source for mattresses, the primary ignition source being the methenamine tablet. The quilt were tested on an underlayer with two types of cigarette tests (cigarette under the quilt and on the quilt), and with a methenamine tablet as a flame ignition source. The blankets were tested (in addition to typical textile tests) also on an underlayer using cigarettes on the blanket and under the blanket. In addition, a methenamine tablet was used as a flame ignition source. The pillows were tested on different types of underlayer using as an ignition source cigarette (put under the pillow) and a methenamine tablet (put on the pillow). The bed linen materials were tested (in addition to typical textile tests also when used as sheets on different mattresses. In these experiments the same test methods were used as for mattresses mentioned above. According to the original plan it was intended to prepare the laboratory test methods with carried out with full size beds, but it was not possible to carry out any full scale bed tests because there were unexpected difficulties with the purification of exhaust air. In stead of full scale tests the mock-up tests using mini beds were carried out to be able to compare component tests. In addition, the main emphasis was put on the ignitability and the spread of fire during the early stages of fire. To test material consisted of three typical mattress foams, two polyester fibre fills, three ticking and seven bed linen materials, and six blankets. Pillows, quilts, duvet covers and pillow cases were made up from the materials mentioned above. Much information was gathered about the factors influencing the fire safety of beds and its components as well as many hints about how these factors could be measured. Both a smouldering type of ignition and a flame ignition were found necessary. The textile materials can be pretested with a flame ignition as in typical textile tests, to test their flame ignition resistance, but in addition to that their smouldering resistance has to be tested with cigarette tests, preferably together with other bed opponents or using artificial secondary ignition sources of corresponding quality. In testing mattresses the smouldering type test methods using insulation on the cigarette (as secondary ignition source) look promising but still need further development as well as the flame type test method using a burning mini pillow as secondary ignition source. No NORDTEST method was suggested on the basis of this project which mainly is based on the observations (pass or fail), especially when other bed opponents than textiles were tested. life test alternatives should be examined more closely from the theoretical point of view, e.g. the effective thermal feeding of the smouldering type and flaming type secondary ignition sources, before making them standard methods.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEspoo
PublisherVTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
Number of pages56
ISBN (Print)951-38-1919-1
Publication statusPublished - 1984
MoE publication typeD4 Published development or research report or study

Publication series

SeriesValtion teknillinen tutkimuskeskus. Tutkimuksia - Research Reports


  • fire safety
  • textiles
  • flammability


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