Radiant Panel Flame Spread Apparatus

(ASTM E162; ASTM D3675)

Radiant Panel Flame Spread Apparatus

The Radiant Panel Flame Spread Apparatus measures the surface flammability of building products (ASTM E162) and cellular plastics (ASTM D3675) by using a gasfired radiant heat panel. It is intended to measure and describe the properties of materials, products, or assemblies in response to heat and flame under controlled laboratory conditions and the results of this test may be used as elements of a fire risk assessment that takes into account all of the factors that are pertinent to an assessment of the fire hazard of a particular end use. An index, Is, is determined from the flame spread and heat evolution factors. This radiant panel index is a required parameter in various specifications, especially for the mass transit industry (buses and trains).

The test is made on specimens of small size that are representatives, to the extent possible, of the material or assembly being evaluated. The rate at which flames will travel along surfaces depends upon the physical and thermal properties of the material, its method of mounting and orientation, the type and level of fire or heat exposure, the availability of air, and properties of the surrounding enclosure.

Summary of Test Method

This test method of measuring surface flammability of materials employs a radiant heat source consisting of a 12″ × 18″ (300 × 460mm) panel in front of which an inclined 6″ × 18″ (150 × 460mm) specimen of the material is placed. The orientation of the specimen is such that ignition is forced near its upper edge and the flame front progresses downward.

A factor derived from the rate of progress of the flame front and another relating to the rate of heat liberation by the material under test is combined to provide a flame spread index.

The flame spread index, Is, of a specimen as the product of the flame spread factor, Fs, and the heat evolution factor, Q, as follows: Is = FsQ.

FTT E162 Test Apparatus

The FTT Radiant Panel Flame Spread apparatus is supplied as a complete easy to use system. Features include:

  • Porous cement and cast iron gas operated radiant panel (12″ × 18″) with electric spark igniter and automatic safety flame out detector.
  • Stainless steel specimen holder, with observation marks every 75mm (3″) for assessing the progress of the flame front.
  • Stainless steel specimen support.
  • Stainless steel pilot burner assembly.
  • Pyrometer to determine the surface temperature of the radiant panel, including mounting bracket.
  • Air flow meter and gas control valve to control the mixture to the radiant panel.
  • Stainless steel exhaust stack with a removable panel to enable easy cleaning of thermocouples.
  • The stack is provided with 8 thermocouples as required by the standards.
  • Calibration burner with methane gas flow meter.
  • Safety gas controls and cut off circuitry.
  • 1Data logger and analysis software 162Soft.

162Soft Data Analysis

This test apparatus is complemented with the 162Soft software package to make the calibration and use of the instrument extremely easy.

162Soft is a Windows based software which enables simple data acquisition, analysis and storage via a 22bit data logger. All parameters are displayed. The software interface can be retrofitted to any existing ASTM E162 apparatus. The versatile data logger may be used in other applications and is supplied with software that allows the data stored in the logger to be downloaded to a PC for further analysis.

The Status Panel displays the signals from all the transducers (the eight thermocouples in the stack and the pyrometer) on the left to indicate when the stack temperature and pyrometer meet the test criteria. On the right of the Status Panel is a stack calibration graph and the value of as used in the calculation of the heat evolution factor which is equal to Heat Release Rate recorded for a change in temperature of 100°C. The calibration and test routines are very easy to conduct by following the option menu on the 162Soft software.

Result processing is very simple by using the available curve fit feature. The temperature rise Vs time graph can be displayed and printed. The calibration data used for processing the results can be changed and recalculated after the test run. Report can be generated and printed by one push of a button on the Print Report Panel.

Radiant Panel Flame Spread Apparatus
Radiant Panel Flame Spread Apparatus

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