Combustible Engine Insulation (Soundown) Risky?? - SailNet Community
 
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post #1 of 8 Old 05-26-2011 Thread Starter
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Combustible Engine Insulation (Soundown) Risky??

I just replaced my old (falling apart) engine box insulation with Soundown's "Peace and Quiet" kit. What comes in the kit is supposed to be "Acoustical Fire Retardant Foam." Looks great.

After I had all this installed, I took a scrap piece and tried to burn it with a lighter. To my surprise, after just a couple seconds of the lighter the foam was on fire. This stuff burns pretty well, had to blow it out. I have fireplace kindling that is harder to light than this foam. My old insulation didn't do this.

Now, how wise is it for me to be putting this foam, which is basically combustible / fuel for fire right next to my engine? The gap between the top of the engine and this insulation is about 3". Would seem to me that in this space, you wouldn't want ANYTHING that can burn as easily as this foam. Could an overheating engine (happened to me last year) ignite this foam? Am I being too paranoid?

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post #2 of 8 Old 05-26-2011
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i've never heard of the stuff you mention but i would also have second thoughts about using anything combustible that near the engine but on the other hand if its a diesel engine i doubt it would start a fire even if it overheats
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post #3 of 8 Old 05-26-2011
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An open flame is probably +500F while an overheating engine should seize up at 200-250F at the most. Stick another piece of foam in your home oven at 250F and see how it bakes, odds are it won't catch fire.

But you might want to contact the maker and the seller, and ask them how it is fire retardant if it burns so easily. Could be they shipped the wrong foam, or the people they bought it from may have cheated them and not added the fire-resistant chemicals. There's apparently a lot of cheating in the "foam" rubber business, because the buyers want cheap and the actual makers...well, who's watching them? It all looks the same once it is cooked.
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post #4 of 8 Old 05-26-2011
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Is it any more flammable than wood as most compartments have a lot of plywood ?

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post #5 of 8 Old 05-26-2011 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tommays View Post
Is it any more flammable than wood as most compartments have a lot of plywood ?
I gave the bare plywood my "lighter test," and got it to blacken but not catch fire. Crude test but seems obvious to me the foam is much more flammable than just the bare plywood of the engine box.

I will get in touch with the manufacturer and see what they have to say. It is marketed for this kind of application, instructions show it installed next to engines just like I have it.

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post #7 of 8 Old 05-27-2011 Thread Starter
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Quote:
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It doesn't say but I believe it is the Barrier Composite Insulation. It is 2 layers of foam with a heavy plastic layer in the middle, mylar on top. The top layer of mylar and foam burns pretty quick then stops at the barrier.
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Spoke with the manufacturer (Soundown) -- basically they said that with this foam, "if you put a flame to it, it will burn," but said it should be fine in my application ... and apparently this same foam is used by several boat manufacturers in their engine boxes (Hinkley was mentioned). So I think this is a fairly common application.

That said, they did say that on larger boats, coast guard regulations require non-combustible fiberglass foams to be used in engine rooms. Which should tell you something. I don't think I'm going to rip out $200 worth of foam now but if I was doing it over, I would pick something a lot more fire resistant than kindling.

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