By rigorously testing different fabric materials in the laboratory and using them to shield structures that were exposed to fires of increasing magnitude, this research, published in Frontiers in Mechanical Engineering, confirms that existing blanket technology can protect structures from a short wildfire attack.
"The whole-house fire blanket is a viable method of protection against fires at the wildland-urban interface," says lead study author Fumiaki Takahashi, a Professor at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA, who teamed up with the NASA Glenn Research Center, U.S. Forest Service, New Jersey Forest Fire Service, and Cuyahoga Community College for this study.
Wildfires in urban and suburban settings can have a devastating effect on communities and pose one of the greatest fire challenges of our time.
People living and working in fire-risk areas contacted Professor Takahashi to find out if commercial products are available to help reduce the likelihood of structure ignition, which would reduce fire damage and improve public and firefighter safety.
These pleas motivated the research and an initial investigation revealed that the concept of whole-structure fire blankets has been around for quite some time.
"I thought about a means to reduce wildland fire damage and found a U.S. patent 'conflagration-retardative curtain' i.e., a fire blanket, issued during World War Two.