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Infrared Spectra of Gases Produced by Pyrolysis of Carpet Fibers

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An important aspect of the flammability question which needs investigation is that of the lethal gases which are emitted when synthetic carpets are burned. Several studies have found that toxic gases and smoke are a major cause of fatalities to individuals involved in fire situations. This study examined gases which were produced when carpets of nylon, acrylic, or acrylic/modacrylic fibers were burned. Infrared spectra of the carpet fibers were obtained upon pyrolysis of the samples. The results showed that hydrogen cyanide, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, acrylonitrile, acetylene, ethylene, methane, and ammonia were emitted. Each of the specific toxicants produced upon burning can be lethal if present in sufficient quantities. In addition, research has shown that cumulative and synergestic effects of these gases may cause debilitation and death. This study indicates the possible need for biological smoke tolerance standards for interior furnishings.

Keywords: Infrared spectroscopy

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Clothing, Textiles and Interior Design, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas 66506 2: Carnegie-Mellon University, Mellon Institute, 4400 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213

Publication date: March 1, 1976

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