19.12.2021 by Aileen Sammler, Juliane Fitz

Advent, Advent, the Christmas Tree’s on Fire – NETZSCH Can Help Prevent This!

A Christmas tree shall not be missing at Christmas. But the essential oils contained in the needles, are highly flammable and can be a fire hazard. We show you how to avoid a fire.

A Christmas tree with real candles is a favored tradition for many people. It looks beautiful and symbolizes a peaceful Christmas season. But it also harbors danger. Due to carelessness, the contemplative “time of lights” can become dangerous to life and limb since a Christmas tree can easily catch fire. We’ll show you what you have to consider and how you can enjoy a peaceful Christmas.

A Real Christmas Tree? Here’s What You Should Know!

The main components of tree needles are cellulose, essential oils and water. Christmas trees are often felled in the fall and have largely lost their water content by Christmas. What remains is combustible material. The essential oils (resin), contained in the needles, are highly flammable. Within a very short time – depending on the dryness of the tree – flames can spread rapidly. In addition, Christmas trees are usually placed close to living room walls or in corners. In this case, the flames spread even faster to neighboring furniture, textiles (e.g., curtains) and walls. The fire behavior of the materials used in the house plays an extremely important role in how quickly the fire spreads and how smoke and the resulting heat develop. However, the most devastating thing about a house fire is not the flames alone, but above all, the gases and the heat that develop. This video shows the dangers that can arise from a dry Christmas tree. (1)

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Source: Youtube

This is where NETZSCH TAURUS Instruments helps save lives with the fire testing device SBI 915.

Safety First – with NETZSCH TAURUS Instruments!

For new buildings, reconstructions and renovations of houses, public buildings, etc., there are strict regulations set in place by building authorities regarding the fire classes of the materials used. It is within the scopes of responsibility of material manufacturers to test their products and to achieve the highest possible fire class for them.

Using the SBI 915 fire testing device, the fire behavior of building products can be determined for individual burning items in accordance with DIN EN 13823. The NETZSCH SBI test simulates how long the materials installed in the walls can withstand a fire load. People should have enough time to get to safety and alert the fire department if, for example, a Christmas tree catches fire, the flames of which could spread to adjacent walls as well as furniture in a matter of seconds and cause devastating damage or even an entire house fire.

In addition, the SBI is used to determine how smoke develops and how much heat is released during combustion. Taking into account these results, which describe the fire behavior, the material is classified into one of the European fire classes. The higher the fire class, the less and delayed the contribution to the fire.

Image 1: Reaction to fire classifications in accordance with DIN EN 13501-1. (3)

How the SBI 915 Works

A specimen is exposed to the flames of a burner, installed in the corner of the sample base. The burner features a heating capacity of about 30 kW, which is equal to the fire load of a burning paper basket, which is made of rattan. The fire behavior of the specimen is evaluated over a time period of 20 minutes. Heat generation, smoke generation, lateral flame spread, and falling burning droplets and particles are all determined. The exhaust hood is equipped with sensors to measure the temperature, the attenuation of light, the O2 and CO2 mole fractions and the flow-induced pressure differential in the hood. These parameters are automatically recorded using integrated data acquisition and analysis and then used to calculate the volumetric flow rate, heat release rate and smoke generation rate. The horizontal flame spread and falling burning droplets and particles are visually observed. See here how Prüfinstitut Hoch in Fladungen, Germany, carries out fire tests using the NETZSCH TAURUS SBI 915 fire test device:

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An excerpt of the software demo can be viewed here.

How to Enjoy a Peaceful and Safe Christmas Time

If you decide to buy a real Christmas tree, always make sure to water the tree, to keep enough distance from walls and easily flammable objects, to avoid open fires and to never leave burning candles unattended. Spraying the tree with hairspray is also not a good idea! It does make the needles even shinier, but also much more flammable.

May your holidays be a peaceful, blessed and safe celebration with your beloved ones. NETZSCH wishes you a wonderful Christmas and winter season – stay healthy!

More details on the SBI fire tester can be found on our Website or in our Product Catalog. By the way …. for determining the fire behavior and classification of floor coverings, we offer the TBB 913, another NETZSCH TAURUS fire test instrument. We will report on this in an upcoming blog post.