Work Item
ASTM WK84315

New Test Method for Standard Test Method for Assessing Combustibility of Materials Using a Furnace at 750°C

1. Scope

1.1 This fire-test-response test method covers the determination under specified laboratory conditions of the combustibility of building materials. Under certain conditions, with the appropriate pass/fail criteria, the results from this test are used to classify materials as noncombustible materials.
1.2 Limitations of this fire-test response test method are shown below.

1.2.3 This test method does not provide a measure of an intrinsic property.
1.2.4 This test method does not provide a quantitative measure of heat generation or combustibility; it simply serves as a test method with selected (end point) measures of combustibility.
1.2.5 This test method does not measure the self-heating tendencies of materials.
1.2.6 In this test method materials are not being tested in the nature and form used in building applications. The test specimen consists of a small, specified volume that is either (1) cut from a thick sheet; (2) assembled from multiple thicknesses of thin sheets; or (3) placed in a container if composed of granular powder or loose fiber materials.
1.2.7 Results from this test method apply to the specific test apparatus and test conditions and are likely to vary when changes are made to one or more of the following: (1) the size, shape, and arrangement of the specimen; (2) the distribution of organise content; (3) the exposure temperature; (4) the air supply; (5) the location of thermocouples.
1.3 This test method references notes and footnotes that provide explanatory information. These notes and footnotes, excluding those in tables and figures, shall not be considered as requirements of this test method.
1.4 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. The values given in parentheses are for information only.
1.6 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.
1.7 FIre testing is inherently hazardous. Adequate safeguards for personnel and property shall be employed in conducting these tests.
1.8 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, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.
1.9 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.


noncombustible; reaction to fire; hazard; risk


There is a need for a test method that allows for innovation of building products that can be used in applications where noncombustible materials are required, while simultaneously meeting the industry’s regulatory needs of ensuring a very high level of fire safety. This work item intends to develop a procedure for assessing the combustibility of materials in such a way that can be linked to the heat released to the ambient environment.

It is recognized that noncombustibility criteria were established arbitrarily, as far back as the 1950’s. ASTM E136 is unique amongst global noncomustibility test in including criteria for both surface and core temperature of the test specimens. This Work Item will explore whether it is reasonable to retain the current test criteria. For example, does a rise in core temperature of a specimen indicate a hazard to the ambient environment if there is minimal external temperature rise? Does a single thermocouple exceeding the 30°C limit in ASTM E136 presents a significant hazard?

It should be noted that even in very vulnerable areas where combustibility of materials is a major concern, the US Coast Guard does not rely on the specimen’s core temperature as a criterion for establishing noncombustibility. The US Coast Guard uses ISO 1182 (as referenced in via the IMO FTP Code), which uses only a single thermocouple on the outside of the specimen.

Developing an ASTM test method that is consistent with International Standards and relies on quantifying the effect of a specimen on the ambient environment would be the most sensible way of assessing the risk of the combustibility of materials for the purposes of building code compliance.

Efforts under the work item will involve the review of other established noncombustibility standards such as ISO 1182 Reaction to fire tests for products — Non-combustibility test and CAN/ULC S114 STANDARD METHOD OF TEST FOR DETERMINATION OF NON-COMBUSTIBILITY IN BUILDING MATERIALS. For example, the indicating thermocouple used in the top effluent port of CAN/ULC-S114 is used as a means of determining such heat contributions to the ambient environment, while retaining the same 30°C limit to on heat release to the ambient furnace environment.

The title and scope are in draft form and are under development within this ASTM Committee.


Developed by Subcommittee: E05.23

Committee: E05

Staff Manager: Kevin Shanahan

Work Item Status

Date Initiated: 11-28-2022

Technical Contact: Richard Roos