Fire Protection Research Foundation report: "Carbon Monoxide Diffusion through Porous Walls: A Critical Review of Literature and Incidents" (PDF, 791 KB)
Author: Izabella Vermesi, Francesco Restuccia, Carlos Walker-Ravena and Guillermo Rein, Imperial College London
Date of issue: February 2015
It has been reported recently that in laboratory conditions carbon monoxide (CO) diffuses through gypsum board at a surprisingly high rate (Hampson, et al., 2013). Because CO is poisonous and a by-product of systems typically present in residential housing like boilers, generators, furnaces and automobile engines, this finding could have a significant impact on the life safety standards published by NFPA.
This report is the result of a literature review project on CO diffusion through walls. This project report includes detailed analysis of the data from the recent experiments with a mass transfer model and confirms the validity of the findings for gypsum board. It also documents a number of actual incidents and laboratory experiments which confirmed the transport of CO and other hydrocarbon gases through other types of porous walls.