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    Author(s): K. Sumathipala
    Date: 2006
    Source: Flammability testing of materials used in construction, transport and mining. Cambridge, England : Woodhead Publishing ; Boca Raton : CRC Press, c2006. Woodhead Publishing in materials: pages [217]-230
    Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
    PDF: View PDF  (114 KB)

    Description

    The regulation of building materials and products for flammability is critical to ensure the safety of occupants in buildings and other structures. The involvement of exposed building materials and products in fires resulting in the loss of human life often spurs an increase in regulation and new test methods to address the problem. Flammability tests range from those in which the sample is ground to a powder prior to testing to the full-scale room comer test. Variations in test methods include the specific measurement of flammability parameters being considered, the intensity and characteristics of the fire exposure, the relative scale of the test specimen, and many other factors. As a result of specific details such as specimen orientation and fire exposure intensity, some existing regulatory test methods have been shown not to classify a type of building material or product in a manner consistent with full-scale tests that simulated actual conditions. Such failures have resulted in the development of alternative test methods for specific applications or products. As a result there is a wide range of tests used to classify building materials and products for flammability or reaction to fire. Unfortunately, the results of flame-spread tests are often characteristics of the test procedure (Clark, 1981). In a 1970s comparison of international test methods for flammability, the ranking of materials by the different regulatory methods was little better than a random number generator (Emmons, 1974; Karlsson et al., 2002). To achieve harmonization within the European Union, it became necessary to develop a new test -the Single Burning Item test. The scope of this chapter is limited to those flammability test standards that are relevant to the regulation of building materials and products. As such, it is only a subset of the many fire tests that have been used or are being used to evaluate building materials (Tewarson et al., 2004; Eickner, 1977). This chapter focuses on the compliance criteria used in the regulatory classifications of building materials for flammability. More details on many of the applicable test methods can be found in other chapters of the book.

    Publication Notes

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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

    Citation

    Sumathipala, K. 2006. Flammability tests for regulation of building and construction materials. Flammability testing of materials used in construction, transport and mining. Cambridge, England : Woodhead Publishing ; Boca Raton : CRC Press, c2006. Woodhead Publishing in materials: pages [217]-230

    Keywords

    Building materials, flammability, fire testing, wood, standards, thermal properties, combustion, flame spread

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