SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 2003

Upward Flammability Testing — A Probabilistic Measurement


Examination of NASA-STD-6001 Test 1 data suggests burn length outcome for a given environment has a large statistical variation from run to run. Large data sets show that burn length data form cumulative probability distribution curves, which describe a material's characteristic to burn in a specific environment, suggesting that the current practice of testing three samples at specific conditions is inadequate. Sufficient testing can establish material characteristics probability curves to provide the probability that a material will sustain a burn length of at least 15.24 cm (6.0 in.) or will sustain burning until all material is consumed. A simple pass/fail criterion may not be possible or practical. Future application of flammability data for some material classes may require the engineer to assess risk based on the probability of an occurrence and the probable outcome with different materials as characterized with cumulative burn length distributions for specific use conditions.

Author Information

Engel, CD
Qualis Corporation, Marshall Space Flight Center/ED36, Huntsville, AL
Davis, SE
Marshall Space Flight Center/ED36, Huntsville, AL
Richardson, EH
Marshall Space Flight Center/ED36, Huntsville, AL
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Developed by Committee: G04
Pages: 46–57
DOI: 10.1520/STP11578S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5489-6
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-0998-8