Facts on Flammability

Slide 19 of 37

There are a number of full scale room tests including those developed by ASTM, UL, NIST and the California Bureau of Home Furnishings. They are all similar in that they require a large test facility with door opening, non-burning walls, and similar detection instrumentation. Room fire testing is also time consuming and they do vent combustion byproducts into the atmosphere.

Room fire testing is not practical for evaluation of various material combinations as well as construction variables and the impact of different placements of the ignition source.

The Furniture Calorimeter method, originally developed by NIST, consists of a large weight sample, a large cone shaped heat source and a means of measuring exhaust gases. It suffers from some of the same problems of full scale room tests although it does not use the confines of a room.

Computer modeling is not a burn test, but rather a means of predicting performance based on computer models using data on such properties as heat release rate, smoke development, and evolution of gases.

As is true of all computer models, they are limited by the availability and the pertinence of the available data as well as assumptions regarding ignition source, test room arrangements, proximity of other potentially involved materials and degree of ventilation.