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How is the limiting oxygen index measured?

2023-11-27 13:44

The limiting oxygen index (LOI) is a measure of the minimum concentration of oxygen required to support the combustion of a material. The test is typically conducted using a specialized apparatus known as an oxygen index meter. The procedure for measuring the LOI involves the following steps:

  1. Sample Preparation: The material to be tested is prepared in the form of a specimen with specific dimensions. The specimen is generally a strip or a plaque of the material, with precise dimensions as per the relevant testing standards.

  2. Placement in the Apparatus: The prepared specimen is placed vertically in the combustion chamber of the oxygen index meter. This chamber is designed to control the flow of oxygen and the ignition source.

  3. Purging with Nitrogen: The chamber is initially purged with nitrogen to remove any residual oxygen, ensuring that the test begins with a controlled and known oxygen concentration.

  4. Ignition and Oxygen Variation: A flame is applied to the top end of the specimen to initiate combustion. As the specimen begins to burn, the concentration of oxygen within the chamber is gradually decreased from the top down, either automatically or manually. The oxygen concentration at which the material stops burning is recorded.

  5. Calculation of LOI: The limiting oxygen index is calculated as the percentage of oxygen in the chamber at the point when the specimen ceases to support combustion.

The LOI value provides an indication of the flammability of the material, with higher LOI values indicating a greater resistance to burning. This parameter is important in assessing the fire safety characteristics of materials used in various applications, such as in the construction, transportation, and electronics industries.

The test method and specific procedures for measuring the LOI may vary based on the relevant standards and regulations applicable to the specific industry or product. It is essential to follow the prescribed guidelines and ensure that the testing is performed by qualified personnel in accredited testing laboratories to obtain accurate and reliable results.

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