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Property Loss Prevention Data Sheets

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October 2013
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COMMODITY CLASSIFICATION

Table of Contents
Page
1.0 SCOPE ................................................................................................................................................... 3
1.1 Changes ............................................................................................................................................ 3
2.0 LOSS PREVENTION RECOMMENDATIONS ....................................................................................... 3
2.1 Introduction ...................................................................................................................................... 3
2.2 Protection ......................................................................................................................................... 3
2.2.1 Noncombustible ..................................................................................................................... 4
2.2.2 Class 1 .................................................................................................................................. 4
2.2.3 Class 2 .................................................................................................................................. 5
2.2.4 Class 3 .................................................................................................................................. 5
2.2.5 Class 4 .................................................................................................................................. 5
2.2.6 Plastics .................................................................................................................................. 6
2.2.6.1 General ...................................................................................................................... 6
2.2.6.2 Thermoplastic and Thermoset Plastics ..................................................................... 6
2.2.6.3 Unexpanded and Expanded Plastic Materials .......................................................... 6
2.2.6.4 Group A Plastics ........................................................................................................ 7
2.2.6.5 Group B Plastics ........................................................................................................ 7
2.2.6.6 Group C Plastics ........................................................................................................ 7
2.2.6.7 Polyurethane .............................................................................................................. 7
2.2.7 Discussion ............................................................................................................................. 7
2.2.7.1 Noncombustible Products in Plastic Containers ....................................................... 8
2.2.7.2 Mixed Commodities ................................................................................................... 8
2.2.7.3 Stuffed Toys ............................................................................................................... 9
2.2.7.4 Paraffin Wax .............................................................................................................. 9
2.2.7.5 Decorative Bows ...................................................................................................... 10
2.2.7.6 Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) Bottles and Other Containers ........................... 10
2.2.7.7 Nonwoven Finished Products .................................................................................. 10
2.2.7.8 Rubber Products ...................................................................................................... 10
2.2.7.9 Plastic Volume and Weight Effects on Classification .............................................. 11
2.2.7.10 Cartoned and Uncartoned Expanded Plastics ...................................................... 13
2.2.7.11 Plastic Pallets Supporting Commodities ................................................................ 13
2.2.7.12 PVC Based Products ............................................................................................. 13
2.2.7.13 Wax-coated Paper Containers ............................................................................... 13
2.2.7.14 Plastic Crates ......................................................................................................... 14
2.2.7.15 Empty PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) Bottles ................................................... 14
2.2.7.16 Mineral Spirit Impregnated Charcoal ..................................................................... 14
2.2.7.17 Protection of Light Weight Paper Products ........................................................... 14
2.2.7.18 Plastic Tote Boxes ................................................................................................. 15
3.0 SUPPORT FOR RECOMMENDATIONS ............................................................................................. 15
3.1 Testing to Assist in Determining Commodity Classification .......................................................... 15
3.1.1 Bench-scale Laboratory Tests ............................................................................................. 15
3.1.1.1 Heat of Combustion ................................................................................................. 15
3.1.1.2 Percentage Inert Material ........................................................................................ 15
3.1.1.3 Parallel Panel Test ................................................................................................... 16
3.1.1.4 Random Burn Test ................................................................................................... 16
3.1.2 Fire Products Collector (FPC) Commodity Classification Tests .......................................... 16
3.1.3 Flammability Apparatus Tests .............................................................................................. 18

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Commodity Classification
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3.1.4 222 Commodity Classification Tests ............................................................................ 18


4.0 REFERENCES ..................................................................................................................................... 18
4.1 FM Global ...................................................................................................................................... 18
APPENDIX A GLOSSARY OF TERMS ..................................................................................................... 18
APPENDIX B DOCUMENT REVISION HISTORY ..................................................................................... 18

List of Figures
Fig. 1. Classification of commodities containing both expanded and unexpanded plastics. ...................... 12
Fig. 2. Fire Products Collector (FPC) test arrangement. ............................................................................. 17

List of Tables
Table 1. Protection Requirements For Finished Products, Containing Nonwoven Fabrics Packaged in
Corrugated Cardboard Cartons .................................................................................................... 10
Table 2. Expanded Plastic Packaging ......................................................................................................... 11
Table 3. Sprinkler Design for the Protection of Wax-Coated Paper Containers ......................................... 14
Table 4. FPC Benchmark Commodities ....................................................................................................... 16

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Commodity Classification
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Page 3

1.0 SCOPE
This Loss Prevention Data Sheet provides definitions and examples of Class 1, 2, 3, 4, and plastic
commodities.
Recommendations for protection of these commodities can be found in Data Sheet 8-9, Storage of Class
1, 2, 3, 4 and Plastic Commodities.
1.1 Changes
October 2013. Minor editorial changes were made.
2.0 LOSS PREVENTION RECOMMENDATIONS
2.1 Introduction
The guidelines contained in this data sheet should be used with judgment in determining protection
recommendations. In the classification of a commodity, the definition of the commodity class is the controlling
factor. The overall hazard of a commodity is a function of its heat release rate (Btu/min or kW) which is the
product of its heat of combustion (Btu/lb or kJ/kg) and burning rate (lb/min or kg/s).
The following examples are illustrative of previous classifications of specific products. Classifying products
based solely on the given examples can be misleading because of the variations in the material or
configuration from one model or manufacturer to another.
It should be noted that the relative hazard or classification of a commodity is a function of both the material
and its configuration. For example, a solid block of wood is relatively difficult to ignite and slow to burn. If,
however, the wood is in a configuration that maximizes surface area and has parallel surfaces to encourage
re-radiation and convection (e.g., idle wood pallets), it burns much more rapidly. The large amounts of heat
released under such circumstances can result in a hazard beyond that normally associated with the primary
material of the product: idle wood pallets are much more hazardous than Class 3 commodities, although wood
products are generally considered Class 3 commodities.
The following examples demonstrate further how the configuration or use of storage aids may affect the
commodity classification:
a) Plastic materials stored in cardboard cartons are protected as a plastic commodity. However, when
the plastic materials are stored in five-sided, open top solid metal containers, the arrangement can be
protected as a Class 3 commodity. This type of array limits the amount of air available for burning and
reduces the amount of continuous vertical and horizontal plastic surfaces. This reduces the hazard.
Likewise, plastic materials stored in solid metal containers with solid metal tops should be protected as
a Class 1 commodity.
b) Metal parts in ordinary cardboard cartons are protected as a Class 1 commodity. However, when the
metal parts are handled in plastic tote boxes, the arrangement should be protected as a plastic commodity.
c) Hypodermic needles are stainless steel. However, each individual needle is stored in its own plastic
case. Several of these needles are then packaged in cardboard boxes. Protect this product and packaging
arrangement as a plastic commodity.
In summary, the commodity classification of a material may be raised or lowered based on the configuration
and/or packaging of the product.
Open-top combustible containers present a special protection hazard, which is independent of commodity
classification. Protection recommendations for open-top combustible containers are covered in Data Sheet
8-9, Storage of Class 1, 2, 3, 4 and Plastic Commodities.
2.2 Protection
The protection for a commodity is based on the commodity classification. The following text provides
commodity classification and classification guidance for many products.

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2.2.1 Noncombustible
Noncombustible materials do not burn and do not, by themselves, require sprinkler protection.
2.2.1.1 Protect free-flowing, powdered or granular, inert materials stored in bags on wood pallets, not in racks,
as noncombustible commodities. A fire will burn through the bags causing the material to flow or spill out,
filling up the flue spaces and reducing the fire intensity.
2.2.1.2 This same effect does not occur when stored in racks. Protect these commodities as a Class 1
commodity when they are stored in racks.
Typical free-flowing, powdered or granular, inert materials are:
abrasives
granular detergents
free-flowing cement
iron oxide
Bagged seed corn
and similar vegetable seed product*
minerals
calcium chloride
sodium ash
sodium chloride
sodium silicate
* NOTE: Though not inert, testing has shown the flowing corn inhibits fire growth.
2.2.1.3 Protect beer and wine (20% or less alcohol) in wooden barrels as noncombustible commodities. This
would apply to both full and empty barrels. With good housekeeping and typical ignition sources, the barrels
will not sustain fire spread as seen from past fire testing.
2.2.2 Class 1
2.2.2.1 Class 1 commodities are:
a) Noncombustible products on wood pallets.
b) Noncombustible products packaged in ordinary corrugated cartons (maximum carton wall thickness
18 in or 3 mm) with or without single thickness dividers, or in ordinary paper wrappings on wood pallets.
Class 1 commodities may contain a negligible amount of plastic trim such as knobs or handles.
2.2.2.2 The following are examples of Class 1 commodities (when stored or packaged as described above).
1. Metal Products
Metal desks with plastic tops and trim; closed, metal boxes filled with plastic materials; pots and pans; electric
motors; dry cell batteries; metal parts; empty cans; stoves; washers and dryers; metal cabinets; electrical
coils; polyurethane filled door panels with no exposed polyurethane.
2. Glass Products
Glass bottles, empty or filled with noncombustible liquids; mirrors.
3. Foods
Crushed fruits and vegetables in 5 gal (18.9 l) or smaller plastic containers; frozen foods, meats; fresh fruits
and vegetables not in plastic trays or containers; noncombustible liquid products in wax coated or plastic
coated cardboard or paperboard containers.
4. Others
Noncombustible liquids in 5 gal (18.9 cu dm) or smaller plastic containers; oil-filled and other types of
distribution transformers; electrical insulators; mineral products; inert pigments; uncartoned PVC (polyvinyl
chloride) insulated cable on larger than 2-12 ft (76 cm) diameter metal or wood reels; metal wire, thinly coated
(2025 mils [0.510.64 mm]) with PVC or varnish, on metal reels.

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2.2.3 Class 2
2.2.3.1 Class 2 commodities are Class 1 products in slatted wooden crates, solid wooden boxes, multiplethickness corrugated cartons, or equivalent combustible packaging material on wood pallets. Also, Class
3 products may be classified as Class 2 commodities when the hazard is reduced by the configuration of
the products (e.g., a solid block of paper with smooth sides) or the packaging (e.g., a solid wood box or barrel).
2.2.3.2 Examples of Class 2 commodities are Class 1 products in small cartons or packages, placed in
ordinary corrugated cartons (e.g., boxes in boxes); book signatures; metal wire, thinly coated (2025 mils
[0.510.64 mm]) with PVC or varnish, on wood or paper reels. Ordinary combustible free-flowing powdered
products in paper bags on pallets (e.g., sugar, flour, etc.). Fiberglass insulation, with or without backing,
stored in plastic bags or without plastic bags. Beer and wine (20% or less alcohol) in metal, glass or ceramic
containers in ordinary cartons; or in wood crates.
2.2.4 Class 3
2.2.4.1 Class 3 commodities are packaged or unpackaged wood, paper or natural fiber cloth, or products
made from these materials, on wood pallets. This includes Classes 1, 2, and 3 products containing no more
than 5% plastic by either weight or volume. For example, metal bicycle frames with plastic handles, pedals,
seats and tires are a Class 3 commodity since the amount of plastic is about 5% (metal frames with plastic
handles only would be a Class 1).
2.2.4.2 Examples of Class 3 commodities follow.
1. Paper Products:
Books; magazines; stationery; plastic coated paper food containers; newspapers; paper or cardboard games;
tissue products in cartons; regenerated cellulosics (cellophane).
2. Leather Products:
Shoes, jackets, gloves, luggage.
3. Wood Products:
Doors; windows; door and window frames; combustible fiberboard; wood cabinets, furniture, solid cases,
slatted crate flats, bottle cases, and other wood products.
4. Textiles:
Natural fiber upholstered (padding and cover) furniture; wood or metal furniture with plastic padded (not
overstuffed) and covered arm rests; mattresses without expanded plastic or rubber; absorbent cotton in
cartons; natural fiber and viscose (100% cellulose based) yarns and thread; natural fiber clothing or textile
products; mattresses with thin layer (about 34 in. [1.9 cm]) polyurethane foam between spring and outer layer
of cotton padding.
5. Others:
Tobacco products in paperboard cartons; self-processing film packs in sealed metal foil wrappers in
paperboard packages; combustible foods or cereal products; refrigerators and washers with plastic interiors;
plastic materials in five-sided, open-topped metal containers; cartoned and uncartoned PVC insulated cable
on 2-12 ft (0.76 m) or smaller diameter metal or wood reels; cartoned PVC insulated cable on greater than
212 ft (0.76 m) diameter metal or wood reels; asphalt shingles and roofing felt.
2.2.5 Class 4
2.2.5.1 Class 4 commodities are Class 1, 2, or 3 products containing in themselves or in their packaging
no more than 25% by volume or 15% by weight of expanded or unexpanded plastic or polyurethane, in
ordinary corrugated cartons. The weights or volumes of a pallet load (including the wood pallet) should be
used in determining percentages. Additional information regarding the definition of a Class 4 commodity is
given in Section 2.2.7.9.
Note: The percentages used in the definition of a Class 4 commodity refer to a single pallet load. In no way
should these percentages be applied to an entire warehouse; a warehouse where 10% of the storage is
plastic should have protection for plastics anywhere plastic may be stored. Warehouses storing a variety of

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commodities should have sprinkler protection based on the highest hazard commodity, or the high hazard
commodities should be segregated and protected accordingly.
2.2.5.2 These percentages are intended to apply only where products are in cartons. They do not apply to
products handled in plastic containers such as plastic tote boxes.
2.2.5.3 Examples of Class 4 commodities are: metal typewriters and metal cameras with plastic parts and
less than 25% expanded plastic packaging by volume; plastic backed, synthetic fabric or clothing; vinyl floor
tiles; wood or metal framed upholstered furniture or mattresses with plastic covering and/or polyurethane
or synthetic fiber padding; plastic (other than PVC) insulated conductor and power cable on wood or metal
reels or in cartons; noncombustible solids in 1 gal (3.8 l) or smaller plastic containers; insulated (polyurethane)
metal panels or doors; synthetic thread or yarn in cartons; empty PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles
in cartons; tightly and orderly packed crayons in boxes packed in cardboard cartons.
2.2.5.4 Most of the examples involve cartoned products. However, when the material and configuration may
combine to produce a lesser hazard than plastics, the uncartoned commodity can be considered Class 4
after careful analysis. An example is uncartoned plastic (other than PVC) insulated conductor and power cable
on wood or metal reels. The product is about 50% plastic by weight, but is arranged so that the limited surface
area of plastic available for burning is also exposed for wetting.
2.2.5.5 Group A and B granular plastics should be treated and protected as a Class 4 commodity. Granular
plastics (powder, pellets, flakes) tend to burn less severely because they fall out of their containers, fill up
flue spaces, and create a smothering effect on the fire. The smothering is experienced in rack storage, solid
piled and palletized arrays.
2.2.6 Plastics
2.2.6.1 General
2.2.6.1.1 Because of the large number of plastics, the complexity of their nomenclature, and the ease of
changing burning characteristics with additives, great care should be used in classifying plastics.
2.2.6.1.2 The heat release rate (Btu/min or kW) can be three to five times greater for plastic materials than
for a similar arrangement of ordinary combustibles.
2.2.6.1.3 The heat of combustion of ordinary combustibles (e.g., wood or paper) generally ranges between
6,000 and 8,000 Btu/lb (13,96018,600 kJ/kg). The heat of combustion for plastics generally ranges between
12,000 and 20,000 Btu/lb (27,910-46,520 kJ/kg). The burning rate of a commodity is dependent on many
things, but plastic materials generally exhibit higher maximum burning rates than similarly arranged ordinary
combustibles. This difference can be two to three times higher for many plastic products.
2.2.6.1.4 The overall hazard of a commodity is a function of its heat release rate (Btu/min or kW). As the
heat release rate increases so does the hazard. Plastics pose a significantly greater hazard than ordinary
combustibles; therefore, plastics should be classified separately and carefully.
2.2.6.1.5 Although there is a large number of plastic materials, five generic plastics products account for a
large majority of the total plastics produced: polystyrene, polyethylene, polypropylene, polyester, and polyvinyl
chloride.
2.2.6.2 Thermoplastic and Thermoset Plastics
2.2.6.2.1 There are two large groups of plastics: thermoplastic and thermoset plastics. Thermoplastics
become soft when sufficiently heated and harden when cooled, no matter how often the process is repeated.
Thermosets set into permanent shape from the heat and pressure applied to them during manufacturing.
Reheating will not soften these materials.
2.2.6.3 Unexpanded and Expanded Plastic Materials
2.2.6.3.1 Plastic materials are manufactured into two basic forms, unexpanded and expanded. Unexpanded
plastics are a solid high-density product such as polyethylene film, polystyrene toys, polyester and polystyrene
plastic tote bins, polyethylene 55 gal (209 l) drums or smaller containers, etc.

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2.2.6.3.2 Expanded plastics are generally a low-density product and are commonly called foam plastics
such as polystyrene foam coffee cups, polystyrene foam packaging material, and polyethylene and
polypropylene foam sheeting packaging material.
2.2.6.3.3 Generally the heat release rate for expanded plastics is greater than for unexpanded plastics due
mainly to the relatively low density and resulting high burning rate. The heat of combustion for a given plastic
material is about the same whether it is expanded or unexpanded.
2.2.6.4 Group A Plastics
2.2.6.4.1 Group A plastic products are those that incorporate plastic materials having a heat of combustion
(Btu/lb or kJ/kg) that is much higher than that of ordinary combustibles, and burning rate (lb/min or kg/min)
higher than Group B plastics. Plastics that would normally fall into this category are thermoplastic polystyrene,
and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS).
2.2.6.4.2 Paraffin, natural beeswax, and polyurethane also fall into this category.
2.2.6.5 Group B Plastics
2.2.6.5.1 Group B plastic products are those that incorporate plastic materials having heat release rates higher
than ordinary combustibles, but less than Group A plastics. The heat of combustion for many Group B plastic
materials may be as high or sometimes higher than some Group A plastic materials, but given the same
configuration, the burning rate of a Group B plastic is lower than that for Group A plastic.
Below are comparison burning rates for similarly arranged polystyrene (Group A) and polypropylene (Group B)
materials.
Polystyrene440 lb/min (200 kg/min)
Polypropylene233 lb/min (106 kg/min)
The above are comparisons for a given storage arrangement, and these values will change depending on
height, type of storage, ventilation, etc.
Plastic materials that fall into the Group B category are thermosetting polyesters and thermoplastics such
as polyethylene, polypropylene, polycarbonate, acrylics, cellulosics and nylon.
2.2.6.6 Group C Plastics
Group C plastic products are those that incorporate plastic materials having a heat of combustion and a
burning rate similar to those of ordinary combustibles. Plastic materials that would normally fall into this
category are thermoplastic fluorocarbons and most thermosets such as alkyd, amino, casein, phenolics, and
silicones. Group C plastics should be treated and protected as Class 3 commodities. When these materials
are combined with other materials that would change the burning characteristics of the commodity, careful
analysis is needed to determine if the product remains a Group C plastic commodity.
2.2.6.7 Polyurethane
Polyurethane has different chemical properties than other plastic materials tested: however, fires in each
are very similar. When expanded polyurethane is stored uncartoned, protect it as a Group A expanded plastic.
However, when expanded polyurethane is used inside cartons, protect it as a Group A unexpanded plastic
material.
Intermediate and full scale tests have shown that cartoned expanded polyurethane presents no greater hazard
than an unexpanded plastic commodity. However, similar testing with other expanded plastic materials such
as cartoned expanded polystyrene presented a greater hazard than unexpanded plastic.
Protect polyurethane-padded innerspring mattresses as a Class 4 commodity. Protect cartoned solid-core
polyurethane mattresses as a Group A unexpanded plastic. Protect uncartoned solid-core polyurethane
mattresses as a Group A expanded plastic.
2.2.7 Discussion
Following is a discussion of some of the products that have been difficult to classify.

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2.2.7.1 Noncombustible Products in Plastic Containers


2.2.7.1.1 Noncombustible Liquids in Plastic Containers
Noncombustible liquids and semi-liquids in plastic containers act as a heat sink, absorbing heat conducted
through the walls of the container. Semi-liquids are such things as crushed fruits and vegetables.
Fire tests to date have shown that for containers up to about 5 gallons, the fire involves very little of the plastic
due to the heat sink of the liquid. However, when larger containers are used, involvement of the plastic can
be expected to a limited degree. As the walls of the plastic container become thicker the heat sink effect
decreases. Therefore when larger containers are involved they present a somewhat greater hazard than the
smaller containers which have significantly thinner walls.
2.2.7.1.1.1 A test using 55 gal (209 l) plastic drums filled with water created a hazard no greater than that
of a Class 2 commodity. Similar tests using plastic containers no more than 5 gal (18.9 l) created a hazard
no greater than that of a Class 1 commodity.
2.2.7.1.1.2 Protect noncombustible liquids or semi-liquids in 5 gal (18.9 l) or smaller plastic containers as a
Class 1 commodity. Protect noncombustible liquids and semi-liquids in plastic containers larger than 5 gal
(18.9 l) as a Class 2 commodity.
2.2.7.1.2 Noncombustible Solids in Plastic Containers
Noncombustible solids in plastic containers do not provide the same heat sink as noncombustible liquids
or semi-liquids. A fire will more easily involve the plastic container. And as with the containers holding
noncombustible liquids, the container size affects the hazard.
2.2.7.1.2.1 Recent intermediate scale fire testing has shown that 55 gal (209 l) high density polyethylene
drums of phenolic resin powder is more hazardous than a Class 4 commodity, and that plastics protection
should provided. The fire behavior was typical of high density polyethylene, even though the phenolic resin
powder was not significantly involved in the fire.
2.2.7.1.2.2 However, it is felt when the container size is reduced to about 1 gal (3.8 l) or smaller, the severity
of the fire also will be reduced. This is because the wall thickness becomes relatively thin (as compared
to a 55 gal plastic drum) when the container size is 1 gal or smaller. The wall thickness for typical 55 gal
plastic drums is about 38 in. (0.95 cm).
2.2.7.1.2.3 Protect noncombustible solids in plastic containers larger than 1 gal (3.8 l) as an unexpanded
plastic. However, when containers are 1 gal (3.8 l) or smaller, protect as a Class 4 commodity.
2.2.7.2 Mixed Commodities
2.2.7.2.1 Generally in warehouse environments a variety of commodities is being stored. It is tempting to
average the commodities, but using this averaging method to determine sprinkler protection
recommendations is not adequate. Protection for the highest hazard commodity should be provided. There
are a number of reasons for providing protection for the highest hazard commodity:
1. Fire tests in the early 1980s showed that replacing one tier of a four-tier-high rack array with a higher
hazard commodity produced a hazard much higher than that of a rack filled 100% with the lower hazard
commodity.
2. Fire tests where sprinkler protection is adequate for the specific commodity, typically burn only about a
200-300 ft2 (18.627.9 m2) area of the commodity tested. Only a small amount of material has to burn to create
relatively large sprinkler operating areas (15002500 ft2 [140230 m2) which means it wouldnt take much
of a high hazard commodity to overtax a sprinkler system designed for a lower hazard commodity.
3. Using the averaging method means continual monitoring to ensure no concentration of more than a
few pallet loads of higher hazard commodities. In normal warehouse environments adequate monitoring is
very difficult at best and generally not feasible.
2.2.7.2.2 Considering all the above, protection should be based on the highest hazard commodity. An
alternative is to segregate the high hazard commodities and protect them accordingly. However, keeping the
high hazard commodities properly segregated can be very difficult in normal warehouse operations.

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2.2.7.2.3 In general, where a mixture of commodities is stored, protection should be based on the highest
hazard commodity. However there may be isolated cases where the amount of higher hazard commodity is
very small and its location can be strictly controlled (via computerization), where the loss expectancy
determination may be based on a lesser commodity classification.
2.2.7.2.4 If it can be assumed that 1) at no time will concentrations of the higher hazard commodity exceed
25% in any single rack bay or stack of solid/palletized storage, and 2) There will be no case where a pallet
load of a higher hazard commodity will be located directly above another pallet load of the higher hazard
commodity, then evaluation may be based on a composite of the two commodities involved.
2.2.7.2.5 For example, scattered small amounts (as described in the previous paragraph) of plastics mixed
with Class 1 or Class 2 commodity may be evaluated as a Class 4 commodity. Small amounts of Class 4
commodity mixed with Class 1 or Class 2 commodity may be evaluated as a Class 3 commodity. Plastics
mixed with Class 3 or 4 commodities should be evaluated as plastics and Class 4 commodities mixed with
Class 3 commodities should be evaluated as a Class 4 commodity.
Cases where commodity mixtures can be so strictly controlled will be extremely rare.
2.2.7.3 Stuffed Toys
2.2.7.3.1 Protect stuffed toys as a Group A unexpanded plastic.
A pair of commodity evaluation tests was conducted in 1986 to determine protection requirements for stuffed
toys. The tests clearly showed that the stuffed toys were a much greater fire hazard than a Class 4 commodity.
Generally, stuffed toys use polyurethane or expanded polystyrene as the stuffing material. The outer
covering is typically made from synthetic fibers such as nylon, polyester and polypropylene woven into a
fur-like fabric, and felt decorations (caps, noses, mouths, etc.) are added. They are typically stored in
polyethylene bags in cardboard cartons.
2.2.7.4 Paraffin Wax
2.2.7.4.1 Protect paraffin wax in block, candle, or other similar form as a Group A expanded plastic. Protect
tightly and orderly packed crayons in boxes packed in cardboard boxes as a Class 4 commodity. If crayons
are packaged with plastic products, protect as an unexpanded plastic. Other storage of crayons should be
protected as an expanded plastic.
2.2.7.4.2 Commodity evaluation tests were conducted to determine sprinkler protection requirements for
paraffin wax. The product tested consisted of 10 to 15 in. (25 to 38 cm), 7/8 in. (2.2 cm) diameter, tapered
candles individually wrapped in a plastic film, packaged in single wall cardboard boxes, and placed inside
corrugated cardboard cartons. The product was stored in a rack arrangement two pallets wide, two pallets
long, and two tiers high to approximately 11 ft (3.4 m).
2.2.7.4.3 Because of the fire severity noted during these tests, protection as an expanded plastic is
recommended. The fire operated 51 of 52 sprinklers installed. The sprinkler discharge of 0.30 gpm/ft2 (12
mm/min) provided little, if any, fire control. Due to intense heat being liberated, tests were terminated while
temperatures were still climbing. Spillage of the candles from the cartons appeared to have little effect on
reducing fire severity. Fire control was achieved with great difficulty by using hose streams and by physically
removing pallet loads from the racks approximately 12 to 15 minutes after test termination.
2.2.7.4.4 Paraffin wax is a hydrocarbon compound derived from petroleum. Common products include
candles, crayons, dental wax, sealants and electrical insulation. It is often stored in block form at facilities
that use paraffin wax for coating processes. The above treatment applies to paraffin wax stored in block,
candle, or other similar form. Paraffin wax coated products or products in which paraffin wax is only one of
many constituents should be analyzed on a case-by-case basis. See section 2.2.7.13 titled Wax-Coated
Paper Containers, for the protection of empty coated containers.
2.2.7.4.5 Crayons are made of paraffin wax, stearic acid, and pigments. Commodity evaluation fire tests
showed that paper-wrapped crayons, tightly and orderly arranged in boxes, and packed in cardboard cartons,
can be protected as a Class 4 commodity. The tight, orderly packed arrangement (limited air access and
surface area for burning) and layers of paper, paperboard and cardboard packaging are factors contributing
to a slower developing fire. Where tightly packed crayons are packed together with plastic cases, protect
the combination as an unexpanded plastic. Crayons randomly packed in plastic bags in cartons should be
protected as an Expanded Plastic.

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2.2.7.5 Decorative Bows


2.2.7.5.1 Protect plastic decorative bows in or out of plastic packaging in cardboard cartons as a Group A
unexpanded plastic.
Decorative bows are usually (although not exclusively) made from polypropylene ribbon approximately 12
to 112 in (1.3 cm to 3.8 cm) in width, formed and fastened on a self-adhering backing.
2.2.7.5.2 Commodity evaluation tests conducted using the Fire Products Collector (FPC) determined that
sprinkler protection for unexpanded plastic is needed for decorative bows.
2.2.7.5.3 Decorative bows may be found loosely packed in a cardboard carton, loosely packed within plastic
bags in a cardboard carton, or individually packed within rigid plastic bubbles in cardboard cartons. Any of
these should be protected as a Group A, Unexpanded Plastic commodity.
2.2.7.6 Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) Bottles and Other Containers
2.2.7.6.1 Protect empty PET bottles, cups, jars, trays, etc. in cartons as a Class 4 commodity.
Fire Products Collector (FPC) tests have shown that empty PET bottles when stored in cardboard cartons
create a hazard no worse than Class 4. This classification is extended to products judged to be of a similar
or less hazard such as cups, jars, and trays.
When PET bottles are stored empty outside of cartons on pallets, the hazard is reduced due to quick collapse
of the pile. (See Section 2.2.7.15 for more detailed guidelines.)
Fire tests have shown that PET bottles filled with distilled spirits in cartons should be protected as a Class
4 commodity.
2.2.7.7 Nonwoven Finished Products
2.2.7.7.1 Finished products that contain nonwoven fabrics, such as disposable diapers and personal care
products, will vary in plastic content. Use the following table as a guide to determine protection requirements
when finished products containing nonwoven fabrics are packaged in corrugated cardboard cartons.
Table 1. Protection Requirements For Finished Products,
Containing Nonwoven Fabrics Packaged in Corrugated Cardboard Cartons
Percent Plastic
021
2239
40100

Protect As A
Class 3 Commodity
Class 4 Commodity
Unexpanded Plastic

2.2.7.7.2 The percent of plastic by weight does not include the weight of the pallet. If plastic pallets are used,
refer to Section 2.2.7.11, Plastic Pallets Supporting Commodities. This recommendation is for nonwoven
fabric finished products packaged in corrugated cardboard.
2.2.7.7.3 The total plastic content includes the plastic in the nonwoven fabric plus plastic such as sheeting,
wrapping and packaging material. Any synthetic fibers should be included when computing the percentage
of plastic.
These recommendations were based on several Fire Products Collector tests of nonwoven finished products.
2.2.7.8 Rubber Products
2.2.7.8.1 Classifying rubber products is difficult and should be done with great care. The Elastomeric
Materials Handbook published by the International Plastics Selector identifies 21 different generic types
of rubber. Included are acrylic, butadiene, butadiene/styrene/vinyl pyridine, butyl, ethylene-propylene, natural,
halogenated, nitrile, styrene-butadiene and urethane rubbers. Bench tests on various rubber products have
yielded heat contents anywhere from 10,000 Btu/lb (23,260 kJ/kg) to 20,000 Btu/lb (46,520 kJ/kg).
2.2.7.8.2 The large variety of materials that can be called rubber makes it very difficult if not impossible
to classify rubber products on a generic basis; the specific material needs to be known to determine the
classification.

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Page 11

2.2.7.8.3 Unless the specific material has been previously classified, protect rubber (natural and synthetic)
products as an Unexpanded Plastic.
2.2.7.9 Plastic Volume and Weight Effects on Classification
2.2.7.9.1 Class 4 commodities are Class 1, 2, or 3 products containing in themselves or in their packaging
no more than 25% by volume of expanded (foamed) plastic or polyurethane, or 15% by weight of unexpanded
plastic or polyurethane, in ordinary corrugated cartons. The weights or volumes of a pallet load (including
wood pallet) should be used in determining percentages.
2.2.7.9.2 Judgment must be used in differentiating between Class 4 and plastic commodities. The allowable
quantity of plastic can be increased if the plastic in the commodity is present in favorable conditions, i.e.,
where the involvement of plastic in a fire is expected to be delayed by the non-plastic material surrounding
the plastic (e.g., polystyrene toy trains, six to ten cars in individual boxes scattered in the middle of a relatively
large flat paperboard carton inside a corrugated carton). Also, these limits should be reduced if the plastic is
present in unfavorable conditions, i.e., where the involvement of the plastic is expected to be rapid (e.g.,
polystyrene television casing or sets in corrugated cartons).
2.2.7.9.3 When a product containing not more than 5% by weight of unexpanded plastic is packed in an
expanded plastic cocoon (or slabs) and placed inside a carton of dimensions LWH, the above limits are
not exceeded (i.e., the commodity is Class 4) if the average thickness of the cocoon (or expanded plastic
slabs) is less than the allowable maximum shown in Table 2.
Table 2. Expanded Plastic Packaging
Slab of Expanded Plastic Along:
All six faces of the paperboard carton
Four walls of the paperboard carton
Top and bottom of the paperboard carton
Top or bottom of the paperboard carton

Allowable Maximum Thickness of Slab


112% of (L+W+H)
312% of (L+W)
12% of H
25% of H

2.2.7.9.4 When a commodity and its packaging contain both expanded and unexpanded plastics, Figure 1
below can be used to classify the commodity. If it is easier to determine the percent by weight of expanded
plastic, the alternate percent by weight scale shown in the figure can be used. It should be noted that density
(weight/volume) of expanded plastic can vary considerably: hence, use of both weight and volume scales
may yield conflicting results. The alternative scale in Figure 1 was based on approximately 2 lb/ft3 (32 kg/m3)
density for expanded plastic and 500 lb (227 kg) per pallet load.
When using Figure 1, percent by volume or weight is defined
Volume (or weight) of plastic in pallet load
Volume (or weight) of pallet load (incl. wood pallet)
2.2.7.9.5 Assume the weight of a wood pallet, if not known, to be 60 lb (27 kg). However, this assumes a
pallet with dimensions of 3.5 ft2 (.33 m2). Larger pallets would obviously weigh more. To evaluate solid-piled
commodity, consider an imaginary load of approximately 60 ft3 (1.7 m3) on a 60 lb (27 kg) pallet.
2.2.7.9.5.6 To classify a commodity containing plastic:
1. Make sure the plastic in question is a Group A or B and that its involvement in a fire is neither very rapid
nor delayed by the non-plastic around it.
2. Estimate the percent by volume of expanded plastic, using the guidelines given in Table 2.
a) If more than 25% is expanded plastic, the commodity is Plastic.
b) If less than 25% is expanded plastic, the commodity may be Plastic or Class 4. If so:
3. Estimate the percent by weight of unexpanded plastic:
a) If more than 15% is unexpanded plastic, the commodity is Plastic.
b) If less than five percent is unexpanded plastic, the commodity is Class 4.

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Commodity Classification
FM Global Property Loss Prevention Data Sheets

Fig. 1. Classification of commodities containing both expanded and unexpanded plastics.

Exception: When there is less than 5% by volume of expanded plastic and less than five percent by weight
of unexpanded plastic, the commodity is Class 1, 2 or 3.
c) If between five and 15% is unexpanded plastic, the commodity may be plastic or Class 4. Use Figure
1 to classify the commodity.
4. Commodities classified as Plastic should be considered as expanded plastic in Data Sheet 8-9 if more
than 40% of the carton volume is expanded plastic.
Example:
1. For a camera with less than 25% of volume of expanded plastic in a carton. If the camera has a metal
casing with plastic parts inside, involvement of plastic parts in a fire can be expected to be delayed. Hence,
the camera itself can be protected essentially as Class 3 product and the commodity can be considered
to be Class 4.
On the other hand, if the camera has a plastic casing, the weight of the casing should be estimated. If the
casing is very light and constitutes less than five percent by weight (no other plastic parts), the commodity is
Class 4. However, if there is more than 15% by weight of plastic in the casing and the parts, the commodity
is Plastic; if there is five to 15% by weight of unexpanded plastic in the camera, accurate estimate or weighing
will be necessary before using the table.

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2.2.7.10 Cartoned and Uncartoned Expanded Plastics


2.2.7.10.1 When products are packaged with an expanded plastic material, other than expanded polyurethane
(e.g., polystyrene, polyethylene, etc.), in cartons, and the volume of the expanded plastic occupies more
than 40% of the carton volume, protect as an Expanded Plastic. If the volume is at least 25% and up to and
including 40%, protect as an Unexpanded Plastic (see Fig. 1). When the volume is less than 25%, use Figure
1 to determine the commodity classification.
2.2.7.10.2 When FM Approved (see Appendix A for definition) expanded plastic packaging materials are used,
in cartons, regardless of the volume percent occupied, protect in accordance with the listing given in the
most current Approval Guide, a publication of FM Approvals (which will be Class 4 or less).
2.2.7.10.3 Full-scale and Fire Products Collector (FPC) fire tests involving nearly 100% by volume of
expanded polyurethane, in cardboard cartons, created no greater hazard than the standard plastic commodity
that forms the basis for unexpanded plastics protection in Data Sheet 8-9.
2.2.7.10.4 FM Approvals Approves certain expanded packaging materials for protection levels lower than
generally required. The basis for such Approval is a favorable comparison of intermediate-scale fire test results
of the Approved product with the fire test results of other products having a known commodity hazard level.
2.2.7.10.5 Protect exposed expanded plastic materials, including exposed expanded polyurethane and
exposed Approved expanded plastic materials, as an expanded plastic.
2.2.7.11 Plastic Pallets Supporting Commodities
2.2.7.11.1 When plastic pallets are used to support stored commodities the classification of the commodity
should be increased by one level. The additional weight of the plastic pallet should not be factored into the
plastic weight of the commodity itself. The classification of a commodity should be increased as follows: Class
1, Class 2, Class 3 and Class 4 should be increased to Class 2, Class 3, Class 4 and Unexpanded Plastic,
respectively. No change in classification would result when the commodity itself is considered a plastic.
2.2.7.11.2 Judgment must be used when encountering certain storage arrangements where plastic pallets
are used to support commodities. Large compact masses, such as books or cut and packaged stacks of paper,
do not burn readily due to charring and insufficient air to the interior surface of the mass. Book signatures
(1800-2000 lb [820-910 kg]) supported on a plastic pallet (60 lbs [27 kg]) should be adequately protected with
Class 2 protection requirements.
2.2.7.11.3 Granular plastics and plastic materials that flow freely out of an array should be adequately
protected with Class 4 protection whether a plastic or a wood pallet is used. The controlling factor for Class
4 protection is the spillage into the flue and subsequent reduction in hazard.
2.2.7.12 PVC Based Products
2.2.7.12.1 Protect rigid PVC-based products as a Class 2 commodity. Examples of a rigid PVC commodity
are pipes, ducts, building panels, and siding. Protect flexible PVC-based products as a Class 3 commodity.
Examples of a flexible PVC commodity are floor runners, seat covers, electrical cable jackets, wall coverings,
and floor mats.
2.2.7.12.2 Protect products consisting of blends (or alloys) of PVC and other plastic resin as a plastic
commodity. The group (A, B, or C) of plastic will depend on the plastic resin blended with the PVC resin.
2.2.7.13 Wax-coated Paper Containers
2.2.7.13.1 This section provides protection for empty, non-nested, non-collapsed wax-coated paper
containers, such as milk cartons. Limited loss experience and fire test data show that wax-coated paper
containers present a fire hazard greater than ordinary combustibles. Where sprinkler system design is
adequate for overhead steel protection, special protection is not needed for steel columns.
2.2.7.13.2 Sprinkler System Design and Water Demand
For wet systems, palletized and solid-piled cartons should be protected as in Table 3.

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FM Global Property Loss Prevention Data Sheets

Table 3. Sprinkler Design for the Protection of Wax-Coated Paper Containers


Density, gpm/ft2
0.20
0.20
0.30
0.30
0.60

Height, ft
up to 8
812
1220

Area, ft2
3000
5000
3500
6000
4000

Sprinkler Temperature Rating


286F
165F
286F
165F
286F

For dry-pipe systems, increase area specified by 30%. Hose stream demand: 750 gpm. Duration of water supply: 2 hours.

2.2.7.14 Plastic Crates


2.2.7.14.1 Protect empty plastic crates or plastic crates containing empty plastic bottles as an expanded
plastic.
2.2.7.15 Empty PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) Bottles
2.2.7.15.1 Protect uncartoned, empty PET soft drink and PET bottles of all similar sizes and shapes in
palletized or solid pile arrangements, stored up to 27 ft (8.2 m) high in buildings up to 30 ft (9.1 m) high as
follows:
a) density: 0.25 gpm/ft2 (10 mm/min)
b) area: 2000 ft2 (186 m2)
c) sprinkler temperature rating: 165F (74C) (212F [100C] or 286F [141C]) are acceptable for existing
systems.
d) hose stream demand and water supply duration: same as recommended in Data Sheet 8-9, Storage
of Class 1, 2, 3, 4 and Plastic Commodities.
2.2.7.15.2 Apply this recommendation to PET bottles having base caps made of other Group B plastics.
2.2.7.15.3 Where the storage area is open to the bottling area, provision should be made to limit smoke
movement. This is best done by providing a light partition between the two. However, it also could be
accomplished by a smoke handling system designed to provide a relative positive pressure in the bottling
area.
2.2.7.15.4 Protect similar empty PET bottles in cardboard cartons in accordance with guidelines for Class
4 commodities.
2.2.7.16 Mineral Spirit Impregnated Charcoal
2.2.7.16.1 Bags of charcoal impregnated with mineral spirits (to make it easier to ignite) should be protected
as an unexpanded plastic commodity.
2.2.7.16.2 When storage is in solid piles or on pallets, protect as cartoned and uncartoned unexpanded Group
A plastics with no favorable factors.
2.2.7.17 Protection of Light Weight Paper Products
2.2.7.17.1 When light weight paper products are packaged in a layer or many layers of plastic and are stored
in a solid-piled or palletized arrangement, protect as an Uncartoned Unexpanded Group A Plastic with
favorable factors. When light weight paper products are packaged in a layer or many layers of plastic and
are stored in racks, protect as an Uncartoned Unexpanded Group A Plastic.
2.2.7.17.2 The recommendations are specific for the commodity generally described as finished light weight
paper products packaged in a layer or many layers of plastic.
2.2.7.17.3 Plastic wrapping includes covering the sides and top of the pallet load or just the sides of the
pallet load. Finished paper products that are partially packaged on the outside surfaces with cardboard or
corrugated paper, with the remainder of the product exposed and then covered with plastic also should be
protected as uncartoned unexpanded Group A Plastic.

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2.2.7.18 Plastic Tote Boxes


Any solid products (including noncombustibles) that are handled in plastic tote boxes should be protected
as a plastic commodity, unless FM Global has fire tested the specific plastic tote box involved and classified
it as less than a plastic commodity.
3.0 SUPPORT FOR RECOMMENDATIONS
3.1 Testing to Assist in Determining Commodity Classification
3.1.1 Bench-scale Laboratory Tests
Bench-scale laboratory tests aid in determining commodity classification. However, these tests only provide
limited information and cannot simulate full scale burning behavior of the product being tested.
Results of these tests provide a simple basis for comparison between the product in question and known
commodities. In no way are the results from bench tests conclusive (see following discussion), therefore
results of bench tests must be evaluated very conservatively. FM Global has tested materials that were difficult
to burn or burned relatively slowly under bench-test conditions, but burned severely under large-scale
conditions. See Data Sheet 1-4, Fire Tests, for a further discussion.
Generally a product will burn more severely under full-scale conditions than under bench-scale conditions.
If a product exhibits a heat of combustion and burning characteristics similar to known Plastic commodities
under bench-scale conditions, then it is likely that if burned in full scale the product also would burn like a
plastic and therefore should be protected as a Plastic commodity. In this way bench tests can eliminate the
need for much more expensive full-scale tests.
Although bench tests provide an inexpensive way of proving high combustibility, they generally are not
appropriate for proving low combustibility. For example, a plastic material that has a high percentage of inert
material and/or has some fire retardants added will probably burn very slowly in a bench test. It may even
be difficult to get the material to burn at all. However, this does not prove that the plastic material will burn very
slowly under actual storage conditions. In these cases, much judgment or a larger scale test is needed to
determine the commodity classification.
3.1.1.1 Heat of Combustion
Generally a one gram sample is burned in an oxygen bomb calorimeter. This heats up a specific amount
of water and from the temperature rise of the water the heat content in Btu/lb (kJ/kg) can be determined. If
the material has a heat content much higher than 8,000 Btu/lb (18,400 kJ/kg) then the material is generally
classified as a Plastic, however the storage arrangement and results from the other bench tests (e.g., parallel
panel, random burn) may allow a Class 4 classification.
3.1.1.2 Percentage Inert Material
A sample is weighed then burned in a 1500F (815C) furnace to complete combustion. The remaining
material is weighed and the percent of material left is the percentage of inert material in the product.
The heat content measured as described above is directly related to the amount of inert material present.
For example, 100% polystyrene has a heat of combustion of about 17,00018,000 Btu/lb (39,10041,400
kJ/kg); with 50% inerts added the heat of combustion measured will be lowered by about 50%. However the
presence of 50% inerts does not lower the overall hazard by 50%. So, to make a more meaningful comparison
of heat contents, it is necessary to factor out the % of inert material from the heat of combustion measured
in the bomb calorimeter. For example if a sample had a heat of combustion of 9,000 Btu/lb (20,700 kJ/kg) and
40% inerts, the actual heat content of the combustible part of the sample is:
9,000 Btu/lb

= 15,000 Btu/lb

1.0.40
20,700 kJ/kg

= 34,890 kJ/kg

1.0.40
The heat content of the combustible portion of the sample is 15,000 Btu/lb (34,890 kJ/kg), which falls into
the plastics range.

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FM Global Property Loss Prevention Data Sheets

This may be a conservative approach, however, there was one intermediate scale test using a plastic tote
box that had 52% inerts and 48% polyester/polystyrene, and although its measured heat content was in the
ordinary combustible range, it created a hazard well above that of ordinary combustibles. Its measured heat
content was about 7,000 Btu/lb (16,100 kJ/kg); typical of ordinary combustibles. After factoring out the inert
percentage, the heat content for the combustible part was about 14,500 Btu/lb (33,350 kJ/kg), typical of many
plastics. The tote box was filled with a noncombustible product and the results showed the hazard to be
about the same as for empty polypropylene battery cases.
3.1.1.3 Parallel Panel Test
Two 6 in. wide 18 in. high (152 mm 460 mm) panels are separated by 12 in. (13 mm). A bunsen burner
is applied at the bottom of the panels for one minute. The time of ignition (after burner application) is noted
as well a time for flames to reach the tops of the panels. Qualitative burning characteristics are noted (e.g.,
melting, dripping, black smoke, hot fire) as well as maximum height of flames relative to the tops of the panels.
Many times this test quite nicely shows the burning severity of the product in question. But for some materials
this test is inconclusive. For example, polystyrene, polyester and thin sheets of polyethylene or polypropylene
materials shrink away from the flame and generally do not ignite.
3.1.1.4 Random Burn Test
A random arrangement is used with paper as the ignition source. The main objective of this test is to determine
if the material will produce a self supporting fire (i.e., continue to burn after ignition source is gone) from
an ignition source of ordinary combustibles. Only qualitative observations are made.
3.1.2 Fire Products Collector (FPC) Commodity Classification Tests
Although bench tests are quick and relatively inexpensive, in many cases they do not provide enough
information to conclusively determine the commodity classification. The FPC commodity classification tests
provide a conclusive way to determine the commodity classification of most products.
The FPC (see Fig. 2) is a large scale calorimeter that can measure convective heat release rates up to about
570,000 Btu/min (10,000 kW or 1 MW). The FPC measures convective and total heat release rates,
generation rates of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, and depletion rate of oxygen. Radiative heat release
and burning rates also can be determined.
The product in question is arranged on a double row rack segment to height of about 10 ft (3 m). The array
size is about 8 ft long 8 ft wide (2.4 2.4 m). This is generally a two pallets load wide by two pallets load
long by two pallets load high array.
Just above the array is a specially designed water applicator. The water applicator uses water nozzles
designed to deliver a very uniformly distributed predetermined amount of water (gpm/ft2 or mm/min) to the
top surface of the array. The water applicator is controlled by computer, which is continually measuring the fire
products during the test. Water is delivered from the water applicator to the top surface array at the same
time a standard response 286F (141C) sprinkler on a 10 10 ft (3 3 m) spacing, located 10 ft (3 m) above
the array and 7 in. (178 mm) below the ceiling would actuate.
Generally three tests are conducted with the water application rate being varied between the three tests.
The water application rates used are .31 gpm/ft2, .21 gpm/ft2 and either .11 gpm/ft2 or .39 gpm/ft2 (12.63,
8.56 and 4.48 mm/min or 15.89 mm/min), depending on the results of the first two tests. The results are then
compared to benchmark commodities of a known hazard level to determine the commodity classification.
The benchmark commodities are given in Table 4.
Table 4. FPC Benchmark Commodities
Class
Class 1
Class 2
Class 3
Class 4
Group A Plastics

Commodity
Glass jars in compartmented cartons (GJCC)
Metal-lined double tri-wall cartons (MLDT)
Paper cups in compartmented cartons (PCCC)
Unexpanded polystyrene (15 by weight) and paper cups in compartmented cartons (PSPC)
Unexpanded polystyrene cups in compartmented cartons (PSCC)

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Fig. 2. Fire Products Collector (FPC) test arrangement.

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FM Global Property Loss Prevention Data Sheets

The Class 2 and Group A Plastic benchmark commodities are of particular importance. These also have
been referred to as FM Global Standard Class 2 and FM Global Standard Plastic commodities,
respectively. Most of the protection standards (such as those recommended in Data Sheet 8-9) are based
on full scale fire tests using metal-lined double tri-wall cartons (MLDT, FM Global Standard Class 2) and
unexpanded polystyrene cups in compartmented cartons (PSCC, FM Global Standard Plastic). All the
benchmark commodities, except the MLDT, contain a quantity of 125, 16 oz. (0.473 l ) glass, paper or plastic
jars or cups, and use single wall corrugated cardboard (18 in. [3 mm] thick) with 125 compartments separated
by single wall corrugated cardboard.
3.1.3 Flammability Apparatus Tests
The flammability apparatus is basically a small-scale version of the Fire Products Collector. It can measure
many parameters, including heat release rate, ignition energy (i.e., how much energy is needed for ignition),
heat of gasification (i.e., how much heat flux is necessary to gasify the material, theoretically, the easier a
material is to gasify the faster it will burn).
This apparatus can provide flammability information for a given product, but cannot determine commodity
classification at present, as there is no water application. However, this is currently being investigated.
The apparatus also has been used as a screening test for the FPC. A material is tested in the flammability
apparatus and if the results when compared to known commodities indicates a high hazard, an FPC test
can probably be avoided. However, if the results indicate a relatively low hazard, it is likely that an FPC test
will be favorable.
3.1.4 222 Commodity Classification Tests
Before the development of the FPC Commodity Classification protocol, a similar 222 array was tested,
but instead of the FPC and a specially designed water applicator, the array was set up under a 30 ft ceiling
and two tests were performed, one with ceiling sprinklers, one without.
The sprinklered test was done using a 0.30 gpm/ft2 (12 mm/min) density and 12 in. (13 mm), 165F (74C)
sprinklers spaced 10 10 ft (3 3 m). The key factors in determining the commodity classification were
the number of operating sprinklers and ceiling gas temperatures from the sprinklered test, and maximum
burning rate and duration of high temperatures from the unsprinklered test. Since this type of testing was
strongly dependent on the type of sprinkler used, it was felt that more objective tests were needed. This was
one of the factors that led to the development of the FPC tests.
4.0 REFERENCES
4.1 FM Global
Data Sheet 1-4, Fire Tests.
Data Sheet 8-9, Storage of Class 1, 2, 3, 4 and Plastic Commodities.
APPENDIX A GLOSSARY OF TERMS
Approved: references to Approved in this data sheet means the product and services have satisfied the
criteria for FM Approvals. Refer to the Approval Guide, a publication of FM Approvals for a complete listing
of products and services that are Approved.
APPENDIX B DOCUMENT REVISION HISTORY
October 2013. Minor editorial changes were made.
May 2004. A clarification regarding the classification of beer and wine in wooden barrels has been
incorporated into recommendations in Section 2.2.1.
May 2001. A clarification regarding the classification of beer and wine has been incorporated into section
2.2.3.2. The clarification was done so that the definitions of nonflammable liquids (Group 5 water miscible
liquids) would correspond with definitions found in Data Sheet 7-29, Flammable Liquid Storage in
Portable Containers.
May 2000. This revision of this document has been reorganized to provide a consistent format.

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