NIST to Fire Test Deck Assemblies-“The Dragon” Will Hurl Burning Embers Onto Decks

We at Central Coast Waterproofing are very excited about this major announcement. With the government behind this testing, we’ll get real world test results using a mock up of a house with various deck assemblies built and tested with a wind machine and a furnace spewing “brands” or burning embers just like what happens in a wildfire.

It’s my understanding that they are only going to test wood (redwood/Southern yellow Pine) and composite (Trex etc) materials. Our sister company, DeckExpert.com is pushing NIST to include Div 7 Traffic coating assemblies to like our Desert Crete system.

It’s our belief that testing waterproof assemblies with Class A ratings against wood decks and composite decks will conclusively prove that concrete decks will resist fire far better than wood or composite. As these tests will be used to develop codes and requirements for decks and building, I predict that concrete decks will become the preferred material to use.

“The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will unleash its Dragon—a NIST invention that bellows showers of glowing embers, or firebrands—at a unique wind tunnel test facility in Japan, where researchers will evaluate the vulnerability of outdoor deck assemblies and materials to ignition during wildfires, a growing peril that accounts for half of the nation’s 10 most costly fires.

In a new report,* NIST researchers summarize suggestions for test designs and objectives offered by experts at a recent workshop convened in Los Angeles, Calif., with support from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and input from the Office of the California State Fire Marshal. This input is now being formalized into plans for experiments that will be conducted in early 2012 at Japan’s Building Research Institute (BRI) in Tsukuba.

There, NIST and Japanese researchers have merged two technologies, NIST’s Firebrand Generator (the “Dragon”) and BRI’s Fire Research Wind Tunnel Facility, which is devoted to studies of how wind influences fire. The combination gives them the singular capability to replicate a firebrand attack and expose structures to wind-driven showers of embers under experimentally controlled conditions.

The brain child of mechanical engineer Samuel Manzello, the NIST Dragon is a two-meter tall, goose-neck-shaped stove pipe that breathes in wood chips and exhales firebrands at a controlled rate. Manzello created the Dragon to support NIST’s program to better understand and prevent fires at the wildland-urban interface (WUI), with the ultimate aim of reducing property damage and human casualties.”

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