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The classic example of mass and surface area is a single sheet of paper versus the same type and weight of paper placed in reams or in cartons on a pallet. To get the piece of paper to ignite will take almost no heat because there is very little mass to absorb the energy.
The case load of paper will ignite. The surface of the carton will burn. The fire, however, will have great difficulty burning into the "mass" of the storage cube. The exposed surface of the pallet load will be totally burned, but then the fire will probably go out.
© Hughes Associates,Inc. 2012