New Insights into the Investigation of Smoke Production Using a Cone Calorimeter

  • R. Sonnier
  • H. Vahabi
  • C. Chivas-Joly


Smoke release data from the cone calorimeter are often underused. They may provide additional information to better understand the fire reaction of polymers and the efficiency of flame retardants. A new method is proposed to investigate the smoke release in cone calorimeter tests and to correlate it to heat release, based on studies with pure and flame retarded polymers. Smoke release rate is plotted versus heat release rate and new parameters are pointed out. In particular, parameter A represents the smoke release per unit energy (in Joules) released. Its value increases when the carbon fraction and the aromaticity of a polymer increase. It can reach around 0.05 m2/kJ for epoxy resins but is null for well-known smoke-free polyoxymethylene (POM). HRR threshold (HRRth) represents the critical heat release rate above which smoke release is measured. Its value is close to 100 kW/m2 for polyolefins but decreases drastically for aromatic polymers. The approach developed in this study is potentially useful for assessing the smoke release of different materials for a heat release rate scenario chosen arbitrarily. The influence of two specific smoke suppressants and of two specific flame retardants on smoke release is also discussed and the proposed method allows for a better understanding of their role in smoke release.


Cone calorimeter Smoke production Flame inhibitor Smoke suppressant 



The authors thank Benjamin Gallard and Loïc Dumazert for their help to prepare and characterize the formulations and Marcelo Hirschler for his review of a preliminary version. The authors also thank the group “Dégradation thermique et comportement au feu des matériaux organiques” of the Société Chimique de France to fund a part of this work.

Supplementary material

10694_2018_806_MOESM1_ESM.docx (62 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 63 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre des Matériaux des Mines d’Alès (C2MA)Alès CedexFrance
  2. 2.Laboratoire MOPS E.A. 4423Université de LorraineMetzFrance
  3. 3.LNETrappes CedexFrance

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