Household fires can be very dangerous. Research and testing is carried out to assess how materials burn. The results are then passed on to furniture manufacturers to improve safety.
In this clip, four materials are tested, with flame retardant cotton proving to be the safest. All household furniture and fabrics are now treated with fire retardants by law.
Used to support learning about materials and irreversible changes, the clip could be played to reinforce learning about burning materials. In class, pupils could be presented with a range of materials to burn over a night light. Small squares of fabric should be used, held in tongs in a sand filled tray. The children could make detailed observations about the way each material burns, whether there is an odour or smoke and what the end product is. If possible, pupils could time how long each fabric takes to burn and record their findings in a table, constructing a graph if necessary. The question "Which material would form the best or worst sofa covering?" could be posed. Pupils should use their collected data to justify their decisions. The clip further highlights the practical application of such decisions and introduces the effects of using fire retardant on fabrics to reduce risk.