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How do you test the flammability of foam?

2023-09-07 14:01

The flammability testing of foam materials typically involves standardized test methods to assess their fire performance. Here are some commonly employed methods:

1. UL 94 Test: UL 94 is a widely used flammability test conducted by Underwriters Laboratories. It evaluates the burning characteristics and self-extinguishing properties of foam materials. Samples of the foam are subjected to a flame ignition source for a specified duration, and parameters such as burn rate, afterflame time, and dripping are assessed. The test results yield classifications such as V-0, V-1, V-2, etc., indicating different levels of fire resistance.

2. ASTM E84 Test: ASTM E84, also known as the "Steiner Tunnel Test" or "Standard Test Method for Surface Burning Characteristics of Building Materials," is commonly used for foam materials used in building construction. It measures flame spread and smoke developed values when the foam sample is exposed to a controlled flame source. The results provide the material's flame spread index (FSI) and smoke developed index (SDI).

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3. ISO 5658-2 Test: ISO 5658-2 is an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) test method for measuring the reaction to fire of materials using a radiant heat source. This method evaluates how the foam sample reacts when exposed to radiative heat flux, including factors such as heat release, ignitability, and flame spread.

4. CAL 117 Test: CAL 117 (California Technical Bulletin 117) is a flammability regulation for upholstered furniture used in California, USA. This test assesses the ignition resistance of foam materials used in furniture by exposing them to an open flame ignition source.

These test methods and regulations provide standardized procedures to evaluate the flammability of foam materials under controlled conditions. It's important to consult the relevant standards and guidelines and consider the specific requirements of the foam application to ensure compliance with safety regulations. Additionally, professional testing laboratories can conduct these tests and provide certification or assessment reports based on the results.

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