Blog: Introduction to… Fire and Flammability Testing

Will your products or components operate as designed when exposed to fire conditions? How can you demonstrate compliance with both customer and international regulations? What is the impact on your bottom line if your components are over designed or on-the-flip side, non-compliant?

Testing can be used to simulate the effects of a real fire and to measure the ability of items to continue to function, to quickly self-extinguish and ensure re-ignition cannot occur.

In consideration of fire and hazard minimisation, it is clearly better to prove via demonstration of compliance with requirements rather than accept third party assurances.

As concepts develop and materials are selected, an understanding on how a particular material or component will perform reduces your risk and minimises wasted effort while in the long term improving safety and reducing hazards. Items tested can range from material samples of new composites, fabrics, even carpets to more complex components and systems level demonstration of fuel or hydraulic systems, or pumps or actuators for aircraft engines. Often the test is combined with additional factors to represent severe operating conditions of the test items themselves, or the environments they are found in.  These can include vibration, and varying effects of fluids or air flow with pressure, temperature variations, and where present, additional mechanical loading. The ranges and application will depend on formal specifications or standards and/or individual customer requirements.

Fire and flammability testing are required for products used in a wide range of industries, including building and construction, aerospace, automotive, marine, oil and gas, rail, defence, telecommunications, and consumer electronics.

Resonate Testing works across an array of industries, however primarily specialises in fire safety testing for the Aviation industry. We are UKAS accredited to ISO 17025, the standard for all major methods of compliance testing for aircraft propulsion grade testing.

Due to the large quantities of highly flammable fuel and limited possibilities for escape, a fire on an aircraft poses a significant threat to life or brand integrity.

With the expected growth in air travel, fire fatalities are said to increase by four percent annually. Consequently, the industry aims to further improve fire safety by improving materials used and testing components and systems in support of aircraft type certificate, i.e. approval to fly commercially.

The FAA, TC, EASA and other regulatory organisations define compliance with a number of specifications for fire and flammability testing. These include ISO 2685, FAA AC20-135, FAA Powerplant Engineering Report No. 3A, FAA fire test handbook etc., to transport aircraft standards FAR/CS25 Part 25 and Part 33, CS-E. Meeting these specifications require specialised burner equipment and the knowledge and expertise to achieve the starting flame parameters.

Resonate Testing’s key equipment for both aviation and other industry testing includes:

  • – Kerosene oil burners – including a standard modified gun oil burner and the new NexGen Sonic burner, both of which meet the FAA and EASA test requirements
  • – Multi-purpose flammability test cabinet
  • – Blow torch
  • – Wooden crib and straw testing

Resonate Testing is continually working alongside regulators, airframers, engine suppliers and component OEMS to update best practice and increase the consistency between labs and ultimately, improve safety.  We are also involved in a significant R&D effort to support the adoption of the new ‘sonic burner’ developed by the FAA. Our testing ability ranges from testing on materials for use in the aircraft cabin and passenger and crew areas, cargo liners, insulation, as well as more complex engine systems, components and fire walls.

Our extensive capability and experience allows us to test across a variety of industries. You can be assured that with Resonate Testing, you are guarantee high-quality testing processes. Contact us toady on +44(0)28 9073 6390 or email info@resonatetesting.com to find out more about our range of testing.

Check out the videos below demonstrating our fire and flammability testing processes in action”

Fire Testing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fg-R8zPg1Mw

Flammability Testing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktaKyhzq464