Polymers (Basel). 2023 Sep 2;15(17):3635. doi: 10.3390/polym15173635.
The increased demand for cladding in high-rise buildings has prompted engineers to explore alternative products utilizing recycled materials. However, ensuring fire compliance in these alternative claddings, which are predominantly composed of low-volume polymer-based composites, poses a critical challenge. Traditional experimental methods for fire evaluation are costly, time consuming, and environmentally impactful. Considering this, a numerical approach was proposed for evaluating the fire performance of glass-polymer composite materials, which contain a high proportion of recycled glass and a lower percentage of rigid polyurethane. A cone calorimeter test was simulated using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software to investigate the flammability of the novel glass-polymer composite material. This validated numerical model was employed to assess the combustibility of the glass-polyurethane composite materials and identify influential parameters using the Design of Experiments (DoE) method. Statistical analysis revealed that three material properties, namely, the heat of combustion, the absorption coefficient, and the heat of reaction, significantly influenced the peak heat release rate (pHRR) of the glass-polyurethane composite materials compared to other properties. Based on these findings, an empirical equation was proposed that demonstrates a reasonable correlation with the pHRR of low-polymer recycled glass composite materials. The outcomes of this study hold considerable importance for understanding and predicting the combustibility behaviour of low-polymer-glass composites. By providing a validated numerical model and identifying critical material properties, this research contributes to the development of sustainable fire safety solutions for buildings, enabling the use of recycled materials and reducing reliance on conventional claddings.