Grenfell Tower - The Disaster
Flammable Refrigerants and the Grenfell Tower disaster
Flammable Refrigerants were used:
14 June 2017 - Which led to the tragic death of 72 people due to manufacturers used flammable refrigerants in the manufacture of cladding insulation and in the refrigerator cooling circuits
The fire started by a Hotpoint / Whirlpool refrigerator-freezer insulation foam produced using butane (A3 class highly flmmable) Blowing Agent3 ignited by a capacitor spark (Intertek report p 8-12), and the refrigerator cooling circuit charged with A3 class1 (highly flammable) R600a refrigerant EXPLODING and spreading the fire to the building cladding4
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The culprit materials: Flammable Refrigerantsa
- A3 classa Highly flammable & Explosive R600 (Butane) refrigerant as a Blowing Agent3 used in the manufacture of Refrigerator/freezer insulation. Caught fire (see Test report page 11-12) & (Which? report)
- A3 classa Highly flammable R600a (Isobutane) used as refrigerant (known as coolent or gas) by Whirlpool/Hotpoint Refrigerator/freezer DX (Direct Expansion) circuit. Expolded after the flammable insulation caught fire from a capacitor spark, and spread fire to clading insulation.
Recent fire disasters due to combustable cladding insulation using flammable refrigerants as blowing agent :
14 June 2017 London - click 10 May 2021 London - click
aA3 class Flammable Refrigerant
R600a A3 class refrigerant was introduced to domestic refrigerators & freezers in 2000 - 2004 by some manufacturers replacing A1 class non-flammable (since 1928) (R12 or R134a ) ignoring warnings from industry & UN Fact Sheet13 which aimed at removing Ozon depleteing refrigerants (CFC & HCFC).
A3 highly flammable (Butane) refrigerant used as insulation blowing agaent use started in 2006 - 2008 to replace CFC / HCFC A1 class non-flammable refrigerants.
A1 class is fire SUPRESSOR - A2 class are fire PROPAGATOR while A3 class is fire PROPAGATOR & EXPLOSIVE
& ASHRAE34 International Standard clearly indicate that. A1 class non-flammable, A2/A2L flammable & A3 Highly flammable.
3 Blowing Agent
Blowing agent is a substance which is capable of producing a cellular structure via a foaming process in a variety of materials that undergo hardening or phase transition, such as polymers, plastics, and metals. They are typically applied when the blown material is in a liquid stage *Note: Use of class O materials is an old out of dated national product classification (see more). Must use BS EN 13501-1 (class A1 non-combustible and non-flammable or class A2 non-combustible BUT, flammable). (see UNEP - Fact sheet )
4Building Cladding : Composite cladding typically consists of panels 3–5 millimetres (0.12–0.20 in) thick made of a core material sandwiched between two aluminium faces. Grenfell Tower was clad with composite panels with a polyethylene core which contributed to the fire; these panels cost about £2 less than ones with incombustible core.
5Business Cartel ; Daikin Industries/ Chemical have patented (aprox3 00+ patents) A2L flammable R32 refrigerant used in small splits air conditioning equipment and licensed the patents to Japanese (such as Mitsubishi Electric, Fugitsu, Toshiba, etc), Korean (LG & Samsung) & Chinease AC manufacturers.conditional on withdrawing current R410A. This has been applied to UK & EU.
See more regarding A2L flammable R32 refrigerant used in Air Conditioing equipment (click here)