LIFT, IMO Spread of Flame Apparatus

(ISO 5658; IMO FTP Part 5; ASTM E1317;
ASTM E1321)

The Spread of Flame Apparatus is an important test for comparing the performance of essentially flat materials, composites or assemblies, which are used primarily as the exposed surfaces of walls. Comparative test data is generated from measurement of the lateral spread of flame along the surface of a specimen of a product vertically orientated. The specimen is subject to radiated heat in the presence of a pilot flame. ISO 5658 and ASTM E1321 allow wider use of the test beyond marine applications. The major differences between ISO 5658 and the IMO test are that ISO 5658 is limited in scope to testing the spread of flame over vertical
specimens and does not include the stack for estimating heat release rate.
The FTT Spread of Flame Apparatus uses a gas fired radiant heat panel with pilot flame ignition to ignite a test specimen. Following ignition, any flame front which develops is noted and a record is made of the progression of the flame front horizontally along the length of the specimen in terms of the time it takes to travel to various distances. The results are expressed in terms of the flame spread distance/time history, the critical heat flux at extinguishment, the average heat for sustained burning and the flame front speed.
To meet the IMO specification a stack is fitted complete with thermopile for estimating heat release rate. The FTT Spread of Flame Apparatus is supplied with all necessary controls, flux meter and specimen holder. The complete test apparatus consists essentially of three main components, a radiant panel support framework and a
specimen support framework which are linked together to bring the test specimen into the required configuration in relation to the radiant panel, and the specimen holder, which carries the test specimen. The radiant heater system is fully automatic, with spark ignition and safety interlocks.

Features and Benefits

  • The control panel is located on the radiant panel frame. This incorporates all of the electrical indicators and controls for daily use and connections for the computer.
  • Fitted to the rear of the radiant panel is a type K thermocouple which monitors the temperature of the assembly. Should a blowback occur in the chamber of the radiant panel, the temperature rise will be sensed by the thermocouple and will cutout the gas supply to the unit.
  • The mass flow meter is used during calibration of the stack for heat release rate measurements. This can be connected to the computer if supplied or a chart recorder.
  • The On/Off Controls for the Sample Pilot Flame, Radiant Panel and Air Blower are located along the lower edge of the radiant panel frame.
  • User friendly IMOSoft software package acquires test data, assists with calibration routines and automatically generates test reports. It allows for a more efficient use of the instrument, leading to a larger daily throughput of testing and enhanced quality data presentation.

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