Insulation Flammable???? Yes or No

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Quacker
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2021 12:08 pm
Location: Carlsbad, New Mexico, USA

Insulation Flammable???? Yes or No

Post by Quacker »

I have seen in AL's newsletter about how flammable insulation and I need/want more information about insulation when used for making mountains.

IS all insulation flammable of just the instant foam only when it is drying.
I would think that all insulation is NON-flammable when hard/dry for it used for housing.

Thanks
Ms Jackie
Ms. Jackie
New Mexico, USA
SealionSteve
Posts: 22
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2021 7:38 am

Re: Insulation Flammable???? Yes or No

Post by SealionSteve »

I think (not absolutely sure) that expanded polystyrene, as widely used in packaging, was used for ceiling tiles here in the UK in days gone by but is now prohibited because it could spread fire very quickly but more so because of toxic fumes given off if it burned. As I say, I may have got that wrong - but I certainly wouln't advise hanging around if you find yourself next to some which catches fire!

In my youth there was certainly a more relaxed/downright cavalier approach to some substances which are now controlled (and not just those employed by my hippy friends 😉). I remember being ecouraged by our chemistry teacher to roll mercury around in the palms of our hands and using "trico" as a track cleaner for example.
Quacker
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2021 12:08 pm
Location: Carlsbad, New Mexico, USA

Re: Insulation Flammable???? Yes or No

Post by Quacker »

To: SealionSteve
Thanks for the information. I was thinking that when hard it should not burn. And the smoke? What is "trico"?

Maybe someone can take a small piece and see if it burns or smoke.

Ms Jackie
Ms. Jackie
New Mexico, USA
SealionSteve
Posts: 22
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2021 7:38 am

Re: Insulation Flammable???? Yes or No

Post by SealionSteve »

Sorry, trico = trichlorethylene, an industrial cleaner/degreaser/solvent. If you google the long name you will see it is potentially rather unpleasant 🙂

I remember 2 things in particular about it. Firstly, it smelled horrible, like ancient, unwashed socks. The contents of the capsules originally supplied by Tri-ang for use in their track-cleaning car, smelled exactly the same, so that was probably the same stuff. They changed it to something presumably less potentially dodgy later.

Secondly, I recall a letter published in the Railway Modeller, probably late 1960s/early 70s. The writer said that as a chemist he should have realised that lighting up a cigarette while using trico was a bad plan, but it was only when he recognised the characteristic "new-mown hay" smell of phosgene being produced by the heating of the solvent's vapour that he realised he had created a miniature poison-gas factory 💀

Going back to your original topic, I would suggest that anyone trying your experiment with insulation foam does it outside and keeps well away from any fumes!
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