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.
Download the full report, "Carbon Monoxide Diffusion through Porous Walls: A Critical Review of Literature and Incidents" authored by Izabella Vermesi, Francesco Restuccia, Carlos Walker-Ravena and Guillermo Rein with the Imperial College London, through the Fire Protection Research Foundation website.