ASTM E1623 - 14

    Standard Test Method for Determination of Fire and Thermal Parameters of Materials, Products, and Systems Using an Intermediate Scale Calorimeter (ICAL)

    Active Standard ASTM E1623 | Developed by Subcommittee: E05.21

    Book of Standards Volume: 04.07


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    Significance and Use

    5.1 This test method is used primarily to determine the heat release rate of materials, products, and assemblies. Other parameters are the effective heat of combustion, mass loss rate, the time to ignition, smoke and gas production, emissivity, and surface temperature. Examples of test specimens are assemblies of materials or products that are tested in their end-use thickness. Therefore, the test method is suitable for assessing the heat release rate of a wall assembly.

    5.2 Representative joints and other characteristics of an assembly shall be included in a specimen when these details are part of normal design.

    5.3 This test method is applicable to end-use products not having an ideally planar external surface. The radiant flux field shall be adjusted to be that which is desired at the average distance of the surface from the radiant panel.

    5.4 In this procedure, the specimens are subjected to one or more specific sets of laboratory test conditions. If different test conditions are substituted or the end-use conditions are changed, it is not always possible by or from this test to predict changes in the fire-test-response characteristics measured. Therefore, the results are valid only for the fire test exposure conditions described in this procedure.

    5.5 Test Limitations: 

    5.5.1 The test results have limited validity if: (a) the specimen melts sufficiently to overflow the drip tray, or (b) explosive spalling occurs.

    5.5.2 Exercise caution in interpreting results of specimens that sag, deform, or delaminate during a test. Report observations of such behavior.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This fire-test-response standard assesses the response of materials, products, and assemblies to controlled levels of radiant heat exposure with or without an external ignitor.

    1.2 The fire-test-response characteristics determined by this test method include the ignitability, heat release rates, mass loss rates, visible smoke development, and gas release of materials, products, and assemblies under well ventilated conditions.

    1.3 This test method is also suitable for determining many of the parameters or values needed as input for computer fire models. Examples of these values include effective heat of combustion, surface temperature, ignition temperature, and emissivity.

    1.4 This test method is also intended to provide information about other fire parameters such as thermal conductivity, specific heat, radiative and convective heat transfer coefficients, flame radiation factor, air entrainment rates, flame temperatures, minimum surface temperatures for upward and downward flame spread, heat of gasification, nondimensional heat of gasification (1)2 and the Φ flame spread parameter (see Test Method E1321). While some studies have indicated that this test method is suitable for determining these fire parameters, insufficient testing and research have been done to justify inclusion of the corresponding testing and calculating procedures.

    1.5 The heat release rate is determined by the principle of oxygen consumption calorimetry, via measurement of the oxygen consumption as determined by the oxygen concentration and flow rate in the exhaust product stream (exhaust duct). The procedure is specified in 11.1. Smoke development is quantified by measuring the obscuration of light by the combustion product stream (exhaust duct).

    1.6 Specimens are exposed to a constant heating flux in the range of 0 to 50 kW/m2 in a vertical orientation. Hot wires are used to ignite the combustible vapors from the specimen during the ignition and heat release tests. The assessment of the parameters associated with flame spread requires the use of line burners instead of hot wire ignitors.

    1.6.1 Heat release measurements at low heat flux levels (< 10 kW/m2) require special considerations as described in Section A1.1.6.

    1.7 This test method has been developed for evaluations, design, or research and development of materials, products, or assemblies, for mathematical fire modeling, or for research and development. The specimen shall be tested in thicknesses and configurations representative of actual end product or system uses.

    1.8 Limitations of the test method are listed in Section 5.5.

    1.9 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.

    1.10 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..

    1.11 Fire testing is inherently hazardous. Adequate safeguards for personnel and property shall be employed in conducting these tests. Specific information about hazards is given in Section 7.

    1.12 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

    D5865 Test Method for Gross Calorific Value of Coal and Coke

    E84 Test Method for Surface Burning Characteristics of Building Materials

    E176 Terminology of Fire Standards

    E662 Test Method for Specific Optical Density of Smoke Generated by Solid Materials

    E691 Practice for Conducting an Interlaboratory Study to Determine the Precision of a Test Method

    E800 Guide for Measurement of Gases Present or Generated During Fires

    E906 Test Method for Heat and Visible Smoke Release Rates for Materials and Products Using a Thermopile Method

    E1321 Test Method for Determining Material Ignition and Flame Spread Properties

    E1354 Test Method for Heat and Visible Smoke Release Rates for Materials and Products Using an Oxygen Consumption Calorimeter

    ASTM Proposal

    P147 Proposed Method for Room Fire Tests of Wall and Ceiling Materials and Assemblies Discontinued; see 1983 Annual Book of ASTM Standards , Vol 04.07.

    ISO Standards

    ISO9705 Full Scale Room Test for Surface Products


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 13.220.50 (Fire-resistance of building materials and elements); 91.100.01 (Construction materials)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 41112201(Calorimeters)


    Referencing This Standard

    DOI: 10.1520/E1623-14

    ASTM International is a member of CrossRef.

    Citation Format

    ASTM E1623-14, Standard Test Method for Determination of Fire and Thermal Parameters of Materials, Products, and Systems Using an Intermediate Scale Calorimeter (ICAL), ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2014, www.astm.org

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