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High-Rise Fire in Dubai, Flammable Windows

03/27/2015 1:37 AM

Does anyone know what kind of flammable windows were used in this and similar buildings?

See

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-31562099

I have heard they are Lexan polycarbonate, and i have heard they are plexiglass.

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#1

Re: high-rise fire in Dubai, flammable windows

03/27/2015 2:17 AM

Molten glass is not the same as flammable windows.

Panels that came down burning might not have been windows.

If they burned it might have been plexiglass

http://www.plexiglas.de/product/plexiglas/en/about/faq/Pages/fire-behavior.aspx#faq_0_0

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#2

Re: high-rise fire in Dubai, flammable windows

03/27/2015 2:31 AM

Sir:

plexiglass is definitely flammable.

polycarbonate less so, but will drip flammable molten material below, or above under high wind conditions. polycarbonate can be made much less flammable with flame resistant (or retardant) additives.

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: high-rise fire in Dubai, flammable windows

03/27/2015 5:23 AM

You are missing the point. Nowhere in the article does it say that the glass was burning.

So the "Flammable Window" has yet to be explained!

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#4

Re: High-Rise Fire in Dubai, Flammable Windows

03/27/2015 5:30 AM

Unfortunate name for the building!

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#5

Re: High-Rise Fire in Dubai, Flammable Windows

03/27/2015 6:01 AM
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#10
In reply to #5

Re: High-Rise Fire in Dubai, Flammable Windows

03/28/2015 10:37 PM

Told ya!

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#6

Re: High-Rise Fire in Dubai, Flammable Windows

03/27/2015 8:58 AM

From the pictures it appears to be more the facing on the building. Which if it burned hot enough could sustain fire in PVC window frames. But at that height most window frames are aluminum. It could be the safety glass was laminated the heat separated the outter sheet and let it fall away and the laminate burnt.

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#11
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Re: High-Rise Fire in Dubai, Flammable Windows

03/29/2015 12:01 AM

Evonik-Röhm manufactures Plexiglass, which is a German trade-mark for a chemical compound called PMMA (Poly Methyl Methacrylate). Other well known brands for this chemical product are Perspex, Lexan and Acrylic. PMMA is used in buildings to replace glass. Although it is a flammable material, it has many mechanical advantages over certain types of glass. In the event of a fire it also may be safer as the latter because it does not crack nor explode. There are fire retardant glasses (ceramics) .... (but) this building does not seem to have been fitted with.

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#12
In reply to #11

Re: High-Rise Fire in Dubai, Flammable Windows

03/30/2015 10:51 AM

Lexan is not PMMA, it is polycarbonate, and it is highly important the distinction be made.

Fires whipped by high winds might indeed produce a high enough temperature to cause problems with polymeric building panels, and even melt glass, allowing the lamination to burn.

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#13
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Re: High-Rise Fire in Dubai, Flammable Windows

03/30/2015 11:14 AM

Right: Lexan is Policarbonate!

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#7

Re: High-Rise Fire in Dubai, Flammable Windows

03/27/2015 3:15 PM

Many high story windows use a resin laminate to improve strength.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poly(methyl_methacrylate)

Yes it can rain fire as a result of such window construction.

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#8

Re: High-Rise Fire in Dubai, Flammable Windows

03/28/2015 1:33 AM

What caused the fire,were there "fire exits",was the building inspected by fire dept once completed,was it built to international building codes?.

What is the approved method of fire prevention in this kind of buildings?.

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#9

Re: High-Rise Fire in Dubai, Flammable Windows

03/28/2015 3:49 AM

ozzb correctly describes the likeliest scenario of what happened, imho.

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#14

Re: High-Rise Fire in Dubai, Flammable Windows

03/31/2015 12:36 AM

The falling material was either plastic facing materials from the building or polycarbonate window panes. If the facing was plastic, as it often is, mounted onto Styrofoam (as a thermo insulator) it would burn and fall identical to the plastic just as the videos illustrated. Polycarbonate panes will begin to melt and ignite from the heat of the fire. This was probably in excess of 2,000oF as most made materials, especially plastics, burn at or higher. Polycarbonate has a burning point slightly higher than 450oC/840oF so it would easily ignite and burn. As it burns it melts adjacent material of the pane and falls out of the window frame. On its way down it continues to burn and this becomes larger due to the velocity of the air as it falls.

If your memory is good- Do you remember when you were an adolescent and burned one of your plastic model airplanes? The end of the wing would burn and the burning plastic would fall off as burning "globs". This is the same as the polycarbonate window panes.

The rapid speed of this propogation is due to the high BTU/mass of the synthetic plastics.

Good Luck, Old Salt

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