Recommendations on the scientific approach to polymer flame retardancy: Part 1—Scientific terms and methods

Published paper in Journal of Fire Sciences November 2016 vol. 34 no. 6 447-467


The correct use of scientific terms, performing experiments accurately, and discussing data using unequivocal scientific concepts constitute the basis for good scientific practice. The significance and thus the quality of scientific communication rely on the proper use of terms and methods. It is the aim of this two-part article to support the community with recommendations for discussing the flame retardancy of polymers by addressing some of the most relevant points. The first article (part one of two) clarifies some scientific terms and, in some cases, such as for “pyrolysis,” “thermal decomposition,” and “fire resistance,” critically discusses their definitions in the field of fire science. Several comments are made on proper fire testing and thermal analysis, including some thoughts on uncertainty in fire testing. The proper use of distinct concepts in flame retardancy is discussed briefly in the subsequent second article (part two). This article tries to balance imparting background on the subject with recommendations. It encourages to check scientific practice with respect to communication and applying methods.

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