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The oxygen index of a material, described in ASTM's Measuring the Minimum Oxygen Concentration to Support Candle-Like Combustion of Plastics (Oxygen Index) (D 2863), is the percentage concentration of oxygen in a mixture of oxygen and nitrogen that will maintain equilibrium burning conditions. It is a numerical measure that can be accurately reproduced with inexpensive test equipment and simple procedures, and it has been used as one criterion for determining the acceptability of materials for use in oxygen-enriched atmospheres. This paper discusses the advantages and the shortcomings of the oxygen index, comparing test results to data from heat-of-combustion and autoignition temperature tests.
oxygen index, fire, flammability, oxygen compatibility, plastics
Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., Allentown, PA