ASTM E1537 - 13

    Standard Test Method for Fire Testing of Upholstered Furniture

    Active Standard ASTM E1537 | Developed by Subcommittee: E05.15

    Book of Standards Volume: 04.07


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    Significance and Use

    5.1 This test method provides a means to measure a variety of fire-test-response characteristics resulting from burning a specimen of upholstered furniture. The upholstered furniture specimen is allowed to burn freely under well-ventilated conditions after ignition using a propane gas burner. The most important fire-test-response characteristic measured is the rate of heat release, which quantifies the intensity of the fire generated.

    5.2 The rate of heat release is measured by the principle of oxygen consumption. The assumptions and limitations of oxygen depletion calorimetry are discussed in Annex A4, and in particular in A4.1.2.

    5.3 Other fire-test-response characteristics are measured, namely smoke obscuration and combustion gas release, as they are also important in making decisions on fire safety.

    5.4 The most important gaseous components of smoke are the carbon oxides, present in all fires. They are indicators of the toxicity of the atmosphere and of the completeness of combustion. Measurement of concentrations of carbon oxides are useful for two purposes: as part of fire hazard assessment calculations and to improve the accuracy of heat release measurements. Other toxic combustion gases, which are specific to certain materials, are less crucial for determining combustion completeness and are optional measures, but fire hazard assessment often requires their measurement.

    5.5 The type of ignition chosen (a flaming source) is common in both accidental and intentional fires in public occupancies. This test method is thus applicable to upholstered furniture in public occupancies. Such facilities include, but are not limited to, jails, prisons, nursing care homes, health care facilities, public auditoriums, hotels, and motels.

    5.6 It has been shown that if the gas burner is used at a flow rate of 13 L/min for 80 s (equivalent to 19.3 kW), as is the case in California Technical Bulletin (CA TB) 133, it approximates the ignition propensity of five crumpled sheets of newspaper located on the seating cushion.

    5.7 This test method specifies both a particular flow rate of propane gas and a period of gas flow. If the ignition conditions are changed, the results would then deviate from the model selected for this test.

    5.8 This test method is not applicable to ignition of upholstered furniture by cigarettes.

    5.9 One of the following three test configurations is to be used in this test method:

    5.9.1 A—A test room with the following dimensions: 3.66 by 2.44 by 2.44 m high.

    5.9.2 B—A test room with the following dimensions: 3.66 by 3.05 by 2.44 m high.

    5.9.3 C—An open calorimeter (or furniture calorimeter).

    5.10 Measurements in the three test configurations listed in 5.9 have been shown to give similar results for heat release in the duct, for heat release rates lower than 600 kW (see X1.4) (1).9

    5.11 Measurements of temperatures, gas concentrations, and smoke obscuration in the room, which are optional in this test method, are dependent on room size.

    5.12 This test method has been designed to give details for the means to build and operate equipment capable of running tests as required by CA TB 133. This test method is, however, more general than that technical bulletin.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This is a fire-test-response standard.

    1.2 The purpose of this test method is to determine the burning behavior of upholstered furniture used in public occupancies by measuring specific fire-test responses when the specimen of furniture is subjected to a specified flaming ignition source under well-ventilated conditions.

    1.3 Data are obtained describing the burning behavior from a specific ignition source until all burning has ceased, a period of 1 h has elapsed, or flashover appears inevitable.

    1.4 This test method does not provide information on the fire performance of upholstered furniture in fire conditions other than those conditions specified. In particular, this test method does not apply to smoldering ignition by cigarettes. See X1.6 for further information.

    1.5 The rate of heat release of the burning specimen is measured by an oxygen consumption method. See X1.6.4 for further information.

    1.6 The production of light obscuring smoke is measured and the concentrations of certain toxic gas species in the combustion gases are determined. See X1.6.5 for further information.

    1.7 The burning behavior is visually documented by photographic or video recordings, whenever possible.

    1.8 The system of units to be used in referee decisions is the SI system of units, see IEEE/ASTM SI-10 only. The units given in parentheses are for information only.

    1.9 This standard is used to measure and describe the response of materials, products, or assemblies to heat and flame under controlled conditions, but does not by itself incorporate all factors required for fire hazard or fire risk assessment of the materials, products or assemblies under actual fire conditions.

    1.10 Fire testing is inherently hazardous. Adequate safeguards for personnel and property shall be employed in conducting these tests.

    1.11 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    D123 Terminology Relating to Textiles

    E84 Test Method for Surface Burning Characteristics of Building Materials

    E176 Terminology of Fire Standards

    E603 Guide for Room Fire Experiments

    E800 Guide for Measurement of Gases Present or Generated During Fires

    E1384 Practice for Content and Structure of the Electronic Health Record (EHR)

    E2067 Practice for Full-Scale Oxygen Consumption Calorimetry Fire Tests

    E2257 Test Method for Room Fire Test of Wall and Ceiling Materials and Assemblies

    IEEE/ASTM SI-10 International System of Units (SI): The Modern Metric System

    ISO Standards

    ISO13943 Fire Safety--Vocabulary

    ISO4880 Burning Behaviour of Textiles and Textile Products--Vocabulary

    ISO9705 Fire Tests--Full Scale Room Test for Surface Products

    UL Standard

    UL1056 Fire Test of Upholstered Furniture

    Nordtest Standard

    NordtestMethodNTFire Upholstered Furniture: Burning Behavior--Full Scale Test

    CA Standard

    CA Technical Bulletin 133 Flammability Test Procedure for Seating Furniture for Use in Public Occupancies

    BSI Standard

    BS5852 Fire Tests for Furniture. Methods of Test for the Ignitability of Upholstered Composites for Seating by Flame Sources


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 13.220.40 (Ignitability and burning behaviour of materials and products); 97.140 (Furniture)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 50211502(Cigarettes or cigars)


    Referencing This Standard

    DOI: 10.1520/E1537-13

    ASTM International is a member of CrossRef.

    Citation Format

    ASTM E1537-13, Standard Test Method for Fire Testing of Upholstered Furniture, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2013, www.astm.org

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