Evaluation of Kapok Fiber and Gypsum Mixture to Improve Fire Resistance
Keywords:kapok fiber, gypsum, fire door
Fire can be formed when these three elements, hot, oxygen, and combustible materials, are present. It produces heat and light through a chemical process of oxidation reactions that occur rapidly. It is widely known that a human’s life on the earth cannot be separated from the fire. But we often hear a phrase about the fire: 'friendly when it is small, deadly when it is big’. Based on this expression, we can say that the fire is not only furnishing benefits to humans but it also can destroy property and killed many lives each year. Therefore, a fire protection should be given priority in our daily life, especially the use of fire resistant doors in commercial and office buildings. Kapok, a natural fiber, which has a low thermal conductivity has been selected and examined in this study as a fire-resistance material. The objective of this study was to find the resistance of gypsum when mixed with kapok fiber. The laboratory works involved the preparation and testing of composite samples of gypsum and kapok fiber, which were prepared with different thicknesses, namely 6.4mm, 9.5mm, and 12.7mm. Then composite samples of three different compositions, namely 1000g of gypsum: 10g of kapok, 1000g of gypsum: 20g of kapok, and 1000g of gypsum: 30g of kapok were prepared for each of those thicknesses. All the composite samples were burnt, in accordance to MS 1073 (1996), in a combustion chamber that had been designed and fabricated in Combustion Laboratory, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. The experimental results revealed that the composite sample of 12.7 mm thickness gave the highest fire resistance for all the prescribed compositions while the composite sample of 30 g of kapok fiber produced the highest fire resistance compared to other two compositions. In short, a composite mixture of gypsum and kapok fiber has the potential to be used as a fire-resistance material in manufacturing of fire resistant doors, walls, and ceilings for the building construction sector.