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Magazines & Newsletters / ASTM Standardization News


July/August 2008

Fire Test Response for Materials of Low Combustibility Covered in Proposed Calorimeter Test

A proposed new ASTM International standard, WK16997, Test Method for Determining the Heat Release of Materials of Low Combustibility Using a Bench Scale Oxygen Consumption Calorimeter, will be used as a fire response test for products and materials that are difficult to ignite and have relatively low rates of heat release. The proposed standard is being developed by Subcommittee E05.23 on Combustibility, part of ASTM International Committee E05 on Fire Standards.

According to Thomas Fritz, retired corporate manager for product fire performance, Armstrong World Industries and immediate past chair of Committee E05, WK16997 uses a cone calorimeter as described in ASTM E1354, Test Method for Heat and Visible Smoke Release Rate for Materials and Products Using an Oxygen Consumption Calorimeter, for measuring materials that have low or very limited combustibility.

“In other words, the combustible content of the test specimen is very small, and only limited combustion will occur during the test,” says Fritz. “The limited amounts of combustibles in the test material result in low output parameters such as rate of heat release and total heat release, two of the primary properties the cone calorimeter is designed to measure.” Fritz notes that the proposed standard incorporates some revisions to the cone calorimeter that are designed to improve the capability of measurements at low levels of heat release.

The proposed new standard will be useful to researchers interested in improved fire retardant systems, regulators and anyone who is attempting to measure heat release at the low end of the scale.

Participation in the standards-developing activities of Committee E05 from interested parties throughout the world is encouraged. The committee is particularly interested in input from regulators from various countries.


Technical Information: Thomas Fritz, Armstrong World Industries, Lancaster, Pa.

Phone: 717-396-5679

ASTM Staff: Thomas O’Toole

Phone: 610-832-9739