Cone Calorimeter

The iCone® Calorimeter was the first in FTT’s new interactive range of calorimeters, called the i­series. It features the latest technology in control and automation making it the most advanced, reliable and user­friendly Cone Calorimeter in the world. The iCone® was launched in 2013. The iCone® series is now completed by two semi­automatic models – the iCone®mini which features a separate gas analysis rack and the iCone®classic which has a fixed gas analysis console mounted on the instrument main frame. These have replaced the FTT Dual Cone and Standard Cone respectively. The iCone® has undergone further modification on its fire model and glass protective screen and is now called iCone® plus. The iCone® series brings calorimetry to a new level of automation and make it available at different budget levels.

iCone® Calorimeter Series

FTT provides customers with automated instruments that utilise state­of­the­art technology to improve the efficiency and accuracy of the fire test process. The FTT iCone® Calorimeters have been developed as an industry­leading third generation of Cone Calorimeter. They feature an interactive and intuitive interface, sophisticated and flexible control options, and built­in data acquisition technology for robust data collection, analysis and reporting. They incorporate many new features not previously seen by fire testing laboratories while being compact, accurate, reliable and easily maintained.

FTT’s iCone®plus is the only fully automatic Cone Calorimeter in the world and the most advanced model in our new range of Cone Calorimeters designed using decades of FTT’s experience in calorimetry. The other two models in the iCone®range are the iCone®mini and iCone®classic which have replaced the FTT Dual

Cone and FTT Standard Cone respectively. These three iCone®models differ in the level of automation, requirements to meet the various needs for fire science research and testing laboratories.

For applications and tests where users would like to be more involved in the operation and running of the tests, and/or for smaller budget, iCone®mini and iCone® classic are the best solutions.

A full system of the iCone®mini and iCone®classic consist of:

Conical Heater

  • 5kW electrical heating element wound in the form of a truncated cone, rated 5000W at 230V with a heat output up to 100kW/m2
  • Motorized specimen height adjustment during test to accommodate materials that intumesce or shrink
  • Facility for testing horizontally or vertically orientated specimens

Temperature Controller

  • Temperature of the conical heater is controlled using 3 type­K thermocouples and a 3­term (PID) temperature controller
  • Testing at varying heat fluxes to a present heat flux profile (of up to 10 steps or changes between 10kW/m2 up to 100kW/m2), can be set using the ConeCalc software

Motorized Heat Shield

  • Automatic/Manual controlled split shutter mechanism to protect specimen from heat exposure before test
  • Ensures the initial mass measurement is stable and the operator has ample of time for system checks before starting the test. This facility is essential for easily ­ignitable samples, which often ignite prematurely if a shutter mechanism is not used

Specimen Holders

  • Made of stainless steel
  • For specimens 100mm × 100mm up to 50mm thick
  • Different specimen holders supplied for horizontal and vertical orientation testing

Specimen Spacers

  • A set of 6 different specimen spacers are provided for easy and precise adjustment

Spark Ignition

  • 10kV spark generator fitted with a safety cut­out device
  • Positioning and control of spark igniter to ignite the combustion gases from the specimen

Glass Protective Screen

  • Made of heat resistant glass
  • Provides a draft-­free environment around the fire model
  • Three sides of the screen are hinged for easy access to the fire model

Exhaust System

  • Manufactured from stainless steel for long life
  • Comprising stainless steel hood and ducts, gas sampling ring probe, exhaust fan (with adjustable flow controls) and an orifice plate flow measurement (thermocouple and differential pressure transducer)
  • Normal operation is at a nominal 24l/s (range 0­50l/s)

Load Cell

  • Mass measurements are taken using a strain gauge load cell with a sensitivity better than 0.01g
  • Mounted on an independent table to avoid any vibration from exhaust fan

Gas Sampling

  • Comprising of soot filters, pump, moisture removal traps (CO2 removal traps if not measured)

Combustion Gas Analysis

  • Paramagnetic oxygen analyser with a range of 0­25% O2 and a performance compliant with the standards
  • Non­dispersive infrared detectors with a range of 0­10% CO2 and 0­1% CO (option)
  • Developed specifically for FTT calorimeters. This analyzer features low drift, low noise and fast response

Smoke Obscuration

  • Measured with a laser system, using Silicon photodiodes, and a 0.5mW Helium­Neon laser, with main and reference (compensating) photo detectors
  • Supplied with alignment cradle and 0.3, 0.8 neutral density filters for calibration

Heat Flux Meter

  • For setting the irradiance level at the surface of the specimens
  • The heat flux is automatically set using the ConeCalc software, heat flux meter and temperature controller

Calibration Burner

  • For calibrating the heat release rate measured by the apparatus using methane of 99.5% purity.

Data Acquisition

  • Data Acquisition/Switch Unit featuring a 3-­slot cardcage with up to 6½ digit (22 bit) internal DMM enabling up to 120 single-­ended or 48 double-­ended measurements. Scan rates up to 250 channels/s are available with a USB and Ethernet interface as standard. All readings can be automatically time stamped and can be stored in a non-­volatile 50,000 reading memory.

ConeCalc Software

User­-friendly Windows based ConeCalc user interface with push-­button actions and data entry fields and capable of:

  • Instrument control and showing status of the instrument
  • Calibration of gas analysis instrumentation and storage of calibration results
  • C­factor calibration with the use of mass flow controller
  • C­factor calibration via pool fire (ethanol) routine
  • Collecting data generated during a test
  • Calculating the required parameters
  • Averaging of multiple tests
  • Presenting the results in a manner in accordance with ISO 5660­1 and ASTM E1354
  • Exporting calculated data to CSV (comma separated variable) files for quick transfer to spreadsheets

Test Parameters

  • Heat flux (kW/m2)
  • Flow rate in exhaust duct (l/s)
  • C­factor (m1/2 · kg1/2 · K1/2)
  • Ignition time and extinction time (s)
  • Heat release rate (kW/m2)
  • Smoke production rate (m2/s)
  • Mass loss, Mass loss rate (g, g/s)
  • Effective heat of combustion (MJ/kg)
  • Specific extinction area (m2/kg)
  • CO2 yield (kg/kg)
  • CO yield (kg/kg)
  • Total heat release (MJ/m2)
  • MARHE (kW/m2) [Maximum average rate of heat evolved]
  • Total oxygen consumption (g)

Unique Features of FTT’s iCone®mini and iCone®classc Calorimeters

  • Remote cone assembly positioning control, so that heater­specimen surface separation can be adjusted pre and mid test, to facilitate testing of intumescing or thermally distorting specimens
  • Programmable heat flux exposure. Up to 10 consecutive heat flux ramping or holding can be programmed
  • Motorized heat shield to protect specimen from heat exposure before test
  • Motorized positioning and control of spark igniter to ignite the combustion gases from the specimen
  • Hinged heat resistant glass protective screen which provides a draft-­free environment around the fire model with clear viewing and easy access
  • Semi­automatic/manual calibration by ConeCalc Software
  • Load cell resolution of 0.01g and load capacity up to 8.2kg (Sartorius cell)
  • Load cell mounted on an independent table to avoid any vibration from exhaust fan
  • Fire model protection alarm system
  • Online support and remote control of instruments from FTT for internet connected system
  • Optional larger Cone fire model for testing specimens with very low heat release rates. 150mm × 150mm specimens are exposed to uniform heat flux over entire surface
  • Optional fully integrated FTIR gas analysis system supplied with heated sampling module, heated lines/probes and PLC controller

Flexibility with FTT Calorimeters

All modern heat release measurements use oxygen depletion calorimetry. The analysis and instrumentation used for quantitative oxygen, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide measurements in both large and small calorimetry have similar specifications. Thus a single set of instrumentation can be used for many test apparatus. The iCone®mini Gas Analysis Rack can be used both for iCone® and Large Scale Calorimeters which require higher capacity pumps and gas handling filtration [e.g. ISO 9705 Room Corner Test, Furniture Calorimeters, Cable Fire Testing Rigs (EN 50399), SBI Apparatus (EN 13823)].

When used with the Cone Calorimeter, the gas analysis rack is completely housed within the iCone®mini unit. When required for the Large Scale Calorimeter this analysis rack is quickly de­coupled from the iCone® main frame and transferred, on the factory­fitted castors, to the new location for equally quick connection to power, signal and sampling lines of the larger calorimeter.

FTT calorimeters are designed to have interchangeable modules that give the user maximum operational or upgrade flexibility. Almost all ducted rigs like the IEC 60332­3 can be readily converted to large calorimeters by use of the analysis rack from the iCone® and an instrumented duct insert which FTT provides. The latter houses all necessary gas sampling, temperature and duct flow rate probes.

Options

The flexibility and versatility of the iCone® Calorimeters are further enhanced by the availability of a range of components and test modules from FTT.

  • Integrated 17″ Touchscreen and 1u keyboard with touchpad and drawer
  • Integrated Computer system
  • Integrated Carbon Dioxide and Carbon Monoxide – NDIR gas analysers
  • Polished duct
  • Sartorius Load Cell (increased range)
  • Soot Mass Sampling
  • Large Cone Fire Model (ISO/TS 5660­4, ASTM E2965) – for testing samples 150mm × 150mm and gives uniform heat flux over entire sample surface
  • Controlled Atmosphere Attachment – for testing specimens in low oxygen atmospheres (0­21%) that may be found in well developed fires, or for studying the effects of gaseous suppressants or other dynamic controlled­atmosphere environments. The cone assembly is located on top of the enclosure with exhaust gas exiting through the cone only. The cabinet replaces the conventional cone assembly but uses the same controllers as the normal cone. There is a door on the front of the assembly with a viewing window Changing between the standard fire model and this unit is very simple and takes approximately 10 minutes. The Cone Calorimeter is fitted with a gas mixing attachment to mix air and nitrogen which can be supplied at flows between 0 ­ 200 l/min to the chamber. The gas supply lines are fitted with flow meters and flowstat flow controllers and a mixing chamber. These are external to the enclosure chamber and housed in a mobile control unit
  • FTIR – the FTT FTIR is an advanced gas analyser used for continuous measurement of combustion gases in conjunction with FTT’s Cone Calorimeter, Smoke Density Chamber or SBI. The analysis of gases in fire effluents is very complex and challenging due to the great number of different organic and inorganic chemicals which these atmospheres can contain. FTT’s FTIR is fully configurable to meet the requirements of several international standards including ISO 19702, ISO 9705 and EN 45545­2. It is capable for individual analysis of airborne concentrations of CO, CO2, NO, NO2, SO, HCI, HF, Phenol, Acrolein, water vapour, etc. The FTT FTIR is a modular construction comprising of FTIR gas analyser, heated sampling unit and a touchscreen PC which are mounted in a 19″ rack
  • Cone Corrosimeter – built in accordance with ASTM D5485 and used for assessing the corrosive potential of combustion products
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