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Acidity, toxicity and European cable classification

James E Robinson - FROCC1


T Richard Hull, Krzysztof Lebek University of Bolton2

Abstract
The draft decision regarding the Euroclassification of cables was
finally approved by the Standing Committee on Construction in
April 2006[1]. After publication in the Official Journal there will
be a three year period of coexistence with existing national test
requirements which will then start to be withdrawn in favour of
the new regulations. The new cable classification system includes
criteria for acid gas. Over the past 5 years considerable effort has
been devoted to validate the scientific basis of the approach. The
results of bench scale fire effluent toxicity assessments of 10
cables are reported and correlated with acid gas data. An
estimation of the component contribution to the fire gas toxicity of
each of the cables, measured under the three fire conditions
indicates that although CO is a significant contributor to fire
effluent toxicity, the presence of acid gases is the major
differentiator between the different types of cables tested. Results
are compared with previously published large scale toxicity data
on 5 of the cables tested in the current program.

The CPD

relates only to matters subject to regulation

requires European technical specifications (EN or ETA)

states essential requirements

maintains existing levels of protection

leads to CE marking.

Keywords: fire; toxicity; effluent; halogen; halogen-free;


regulation; classification; ISO; IEC; CPD

It is believed that low smoke zero halogen (LSZH) technology


gives benefit over established materials such as PVC in the
following areas:

Safety in terms of building evacuation, through reduced fire


effluent toxicity and irritancy.

Economic, through easier reinstatement of building and


contents, reduced corrosion damage and ground water
pollution.

Reduced environmental impact (non-fire related).


The CPD does not concern itself with physical loss nor
environmental impact. Hence, the sole justification for including
acidity criteria within the CPD legislation is the impact of fire
effluents on building evacuation. Under CPD legislation fire
toxicity is not directly regulated. However, fire effluent toxicity is
specified as a key consideration in an engineering approach to fire
safety ignitability, flame spread, rate of heat release,
production of smoke and toxic gases [7].

1. Introduction
1.1

History of CPD Legislation

The Construction Products Directive (CPD) originates from


European Union legislation dating from 1989 (89/106/EC) [2][3][4]
and relates to all products used in the construction of buildings.
The objective of Euroclassification is to remove technical
barriers to trade arising from national laws and regulations in
Member States, thus enabling the Single European Market in
construction products. There is today an enormous range of
differing National (+/-30) and International (+/-20) fire test
methods. There are no accepted criteria for comparison or
equivalence and on this basis free trade is impractical. The
essential need is for harmonised test methods to be applied
throughout the EU so that goods may be traded without
restriction. Ideally these test methods will apply horizontally to
all building products and equally all types of cable. A further
development is in the adoption of Fire Safety Engineering in place
of prescriptive regulation. There is limited possibility to use CPD
fire test data as a basis for design and it is anticipated that the new
regulation will at least be a first step towards a more performance
based fire technology (Benefeu project) [5].

c/o Borealis Polymers NV, Schalienhoevedreef 20/T,


B-2800 Mechelen, Belgium
2
Fire Materials Laboratories, CMRI, Deane Road, Bolton BL3 5AB

There are 6 Essential requirements -CPD, 89/106/EC Annex 1

ER1 - mechanical resistance and stability

ER2 - safety in case of fire

ER3 - hygiene, health and the environment

ER4 - safety in use

ER5 - protection against noise

ER6 - energy economy and heat retention.


The second of these relates to safety in case of fire. This includes
the requirement to address building evacuation in the case of fire
occupants can leave the works or be rescued by other means [6].

Building evacuation is an important factor for public access


constructions and some residential and commercial applications.
The CPD is recognised by the cable industry as promoting
segmentation and growth for specific better performing cable
types. Essentially the CPD defines 6 levels of fire performance
applicable to all building cable types. Class A products are
essentially mineral and will not burn. Class F products are not
classified. Wood is a common combustible building material and
has been defined as Class D within the scheme.

In addition, within a given class, additional properties such as


smoke, dripping and fire effluent characteristics (eg smoke
density, acidity) can be specified. An important feature is that
Class D is the lowest class where smoke properties are defined.

1.2

ISO/IEC progress on fire effluent toxicity

Our paper concerns the use of acidity criteria within the new
European classification system. The measurement of the toxic
yield of fire effluents and their impact on fire safety is being
considered within ISO Technical Committees. Significant
guidance documents and test methods have been published. The
criteria used for assessing smoke toxicity and how it must be
measured have been defined[8]. Parallel documents appertaining to
cables are currently being considered within the IEC (TC89,
IEC60695 series). It is accepted that, where appropriate, ISO/IEC
norms and test methods will be adopted within European
legislation.
Bench Scale Toxicity Assessment
Scale-up criteria for fire are difficult to define; particularly where
combustion toxicity is involved as product yields may differ by
two orders of magnitude, depending on conditions. The difficulty
in replicating the range of fire conditions found in real fires has
held back the development of bench-scale toxicity testing. Indeed,
in the United States, the underestimation of CO yield in small
scale tests is addressed by simply changing the results to give a
single value for the CO yield of 0.2 g/g in under ventilated
conditions[9] Once the relationship to full-scale fires has been
demonstrated, bench-scale toxicity assessment will provide a cost
effective alternative, particularly for material development and
screening, and ultimately for fire safety engineering.

acid gas test (EN 50267-2-3). The other flow-through methods


such as the Fire Propagation Apparatus (FPA)(ASTM E2058)
developed by FM Global, the DIN 53436 and the UK Steady State
Tube Furnace, IEC 60695-7-50 (and also BS 7990 and ISO TS
19700) (The Purser Furnace) all allow the possibility of
monitoring the fire conditions during burning. The FPA allows the
rate of burning to vary under a constant heat flux, similar to the
cone, but with control of ventilation. In contrast, the DIN 53436
and the BS 7990 force combustion by feeding the sample into a
furnace of increasing heat flux at a fixed rate, thus replicating
steady state burning.
Ultimately the value of the bench-scale toxicity assessment is
dependent on its ability to predict large scale burning behaviour,
and therefore validation must involve comparison with large scale
test data, where the mass loss, or extent of burning is reliably
known. Unfortunately most large scale test data have been
obtained under well-ventilated conditions, and when underventilated fire scenarios, such as the ISO 9705 Room test, are used
the change of sample mass during the test is not routinely
recorded.

2. Experimental
Materials. Ten cables were tested. All the cables complied with
the criteria for the specified standard. Five of the cables were also
tested in the large scale experiments completed at LSF10.
Type

Application

Conductor(s)

Insulation

Bedding

Sheath

Cat 5 UTP (a)

Data

4x2x0.53mm

PE

None

LSZH1

Cat 5 UTP (b)

Data

4x2x0.53mm

PE

None

LSZH

Cat 5 UTP (c)

Data

4x2x0.53mm

PE

None

PVC

Cat 7 (SSTP)

Data

4x2x0.58mm

PE Foam

None

LSZH

PVC

None

None

None

LSZH

????

PVC

N07V-K

Energy

1x2.5mm

Physical Fire Models

RZ1-K

Energy

3x1.5mm

In just the same way that large scale burning behaviour is not
easily predicted in small-scale tests, so fire toxicity is highly
dependent on the fire conditions, and particularly the length-scale
of the fire. Of the standard methods used for toxicity assessment,
there are three general types, well-ventilated or open methods,
closed box tests, and flow through methods such as tube furnaces.
Although most bench scale fire tests, such as the cone calorimeter,
are run in well-ventilated conditions, they are generally unsuitable
for estimation of toxic product yields because the high degree of
ventilation coupled with the rapid quenching of fire gases, gives a
high yield of products of incomplete combustion through
premature flame quenching, rather than through vitiation. The
closed box tests, such as the NBS Cup furnace (Potts Pot), the
Radiant Furnace test ASTM E1678 and tests using the NBS
Smoke Chamber (ASTM E662 and ISO 5659-2) give a complete
product yield of burning from well-ventilated right through to
fully vitiated, but without giving any indication of how the yield
varies with fire condition. Sampling from such devices during
burning is possible but this may either deplete the fire gases if
they are not returned to the box, or may change product, for
example by filtration prior to analysis, if they are to be
recirculated. The French railways test (NFX 70-100), is a small
scale (~1g) decomposition apparatus where the products are
analysed and a toxicity index is generated, but the ventilation is
controlled independently of the sample decomposition rate. This
decomposition part of the apparatus is very similar to that of the

RV-K

Energy

3x1.5mm

PVC

NHXMH

Energy

3x1.5mm

XLPE

PO/Chalk/A LSZH
TH

NHMH

Energy

3x1.5mm

PP

PO/Chalk

LSZH1

NYM*

Energy

3x1.5mm

PVC

PVC

PVC

Table 1. Cable identification and description


* Two different cables both meeting the DIN NYM specification
were tested, one in the steady state tube furnace and a different
one in the large scale test. The results are included for comparison
purposes.
Most cable formulations tend to follow similar trends. For
example PVC cable sheathing and insulation contains
approximately equal masses of PVC polymer, plasticiser and
chalk. The bedding often contains up to 80% chalk, which can
trap some of the hydrogen chloride gas (HCl). The PVC sheath
and insulation in the NYM Cable (10) contained PVC polymer,
plasticiser (found to be di-iso-octyl phthalate) and chalk. The
insulation of low smoke zero-halogen (LSZH) formulations is
generally polyethylene for data cables and cross-linked
polyethylene for energy cables, and thus provides a significant
flammable component. A typical fire retarded sheath may consist
of 35 - 45% ethylene-vinyl acetate based polymer blend and 55 65% aluminium or magnesium hydroxide (Al(OH)3 referred to as

ATH, or Mg(OH)2), which will decompose endothermically to


release water leaving alumina, Al2O3 or magnesia, MgO. The zero
halogen materials (LSZH) are believed to be EVA/PE/ATH
blends but have not been further analysed. Earlier work has shown
that the presence of alumina can promote char oxidation,
influencing the yields of carbon monoxide11. The polyolefin
material (LSZH1) contains ethylene-acrylate copolymer, chalk
(30%) and silicone elastomer.
The Purser furnace
The Purser furnace[12][13], (Figure 1) consists of a tube furnace
through which a polymer sample is driven at a fixed rate, while
being supplied with a fixed feed rate of primary air. By driving the
sample into a rising temperature gradient within the furnace,
increasing the applied heat flux, combustion is forced even under
reduced ventilation. In this way steady state burning is set up
before the hottest part of the furnace is reached, and provided
steady flaming is obtained, the results are largely independent of
the furnace temperature. The effluent from the tube is made up to
50 litres per minute with secondary air by dilution within the
chamber.
Toxic product yields were determined using the IEC 60695-7-50
method which specifies the ratio of primary to secondary air.
Once steady state conditions have been established, the fire
toxicity at different fire conditions can be determined. The
materials were studied using the experimental conditions relating
to the 3 fire scenarios described in IEC 60695-7-50 (Table 1).
Table 2. Fire types according IEC 60695-7-50
fire type

furnace
temperature /C

primary air
flow/l min-1

secondary air flow/l


min-1

smouldering

350

1.1

48.9

well-ventilated flaming

650

22.6

27.4

developed fire - low


ventilation

825

2.7

47.3

This standard uses a simpler apparatus (Figure 2) in which the


sample is decomposed in a stream of flowing air in the middle of
the tube furnace, above 935C, and the effluent is collected in
bubblers prior to analysis. The effluent solution is quantified in
terms of pH and conductivity. In aqueous solution, acids
dissociate into hydrogen ions H+, which give rise to the acidity,
and anions corresponding to the particular acid (e.g. Cl- from
hydrochloric acid, SO42- from sulphuric acid). These charged
particles give rise to their conductivity. Chemists quantify acidity
as pH which is the negative logarithm of the hydrogen ion
concentration
pH = - log10 [H+]
Thus a pH of 1 corresponds to an H+ concentration of 0.1 mol
dm-3 while a pH of 3 corresponds to an H+ concentration of
0.001 mol dm-3.
The samples were pre-conditioned (at temperature 23 C 2 C
and relative humidity of 50% 5% for at least 16h) weighed
(mass 1000 mg 5mg) and loaded into a silica sample boat. The
boat was quickly inserted into the central zone of the furnace tube
and kept there for 30 minutes, in a constant air flow of 1 litre
min-1. Evolved gases were trapped into two bubblers each
containing 450 ml of distilled water.
When the run was finished, solutions were combined and their
conductivity and pH were measured. In addition, the connecting
tube from the furnace was rinsed with distilled water, put into a
100 ml volumetric flask, made up with deionised water, and the
conductivity and pH were measured. These two solutions were
combined and pH and conductivity were measured. In addition
100 ml aliquots of the combined solution were titrated against
standardised 0.1M sodium hydroxide to verify the acidic content.

Gas sampling

furnace
Air in

Figure 1. The Purser furnace


Carbon dioxide concentrations in the effluent dilution chamber are
detected using a non-dispersive infrared analyser (Edinburgh
Sensors Ltd.). The oxygen concentration in the effluent dilution
chamber is measured using a paramagnetic analyzer (Servomex
Ltd.). The carbon monoxide concentration is measured using an
electrochemical cell (City Technology Ltd.). HCl was trapped by
a series of three bubblers into deionised water and titrated against
0.1M sodium hydroxide using congo red as an indicator.

The Acid Gas Test EN 50297-2-3:1998[14]

Figure 2. The EN 50267-2-3 test apparatus

3. Effluent Toxicity Assessment


Carbon monoxide is generally considered to be the most toxic gas
in fire, preventing oxygen transport by the formation of
carboxyhaemoglobin. The effect of halogen gases is to stimulate
pulmonary aenema inhibiting the absorption of oxygen by the
lung; in effect drowning the victim. When CO2 is present in
human blood it stimulates hyperventilation, increases the
respiration rate and hence the hazard from the toxic components
of the fire gas. Oxygen depletion deprives the body of oxygen
(hypoxia) with fatal consequences at concentrations below 14%.

The strategy used for quantification of fire effluent toxic potency


is based on the prediction of the toxic effects of fire effluents as
reported[16]. It uses methodology for the calculation of toxic
potencies from combustion product analytical data without the
exposure of animals. Such methodology, described in ISO
13344Error! Bookmark not defined. is based on extensive
experimentation using exposure of rats to the common fire gases,
both singly and in combinations. The values obtained were
derived from rat lethality data. The FED values estimated from
this method differ from those obtained using the equations in
ISO/TS 13571. The FED values from ISO/TS 13571 are derived
from consensus estimates of the incapacitating effects of fire gases
on people.
The general approach is to assume additive behaviour of
individual toxicants, and to express the concentration of each as
its fraction of the lethal concentration for 50% of the population
(LC50). Thus an FED equal to one in a fire effluent indicates that
the sum of concentrations of individual species over 30 minute
exposures will be lethal to 50% of the population. However, in
this work an arbitrary dilution of 50 litres of effluent volume per
gram of sample has been applied in order to permit valid
comparison of the relative toxicities. The model assumes that the
fractional lethal doses of most gases are additive, as developed by
Tsuchiya and co-workers15.
m [CO ]
[CO 2 ] b

[HCN ] + [HCl ] + [HBr ] + ....


21 [O 2 ]
+
21 LC 50, O 2 LC 50, HCN
LC 50, HCl
LC 50, HBr

Cat 5 RZ1-K N07V-K NHMH NHXM Cat 5 SSTP RV-K


UTP(a)
H
UTP(b) (Cat7)
0.8301

1.0039

0.5351

0.6113

0.7841

0.7504

0.8146

0.5088

0.7338

mass of bedding
/g

0.2774

0.202

0.2903

mass of
insulation /g

0.283

0.1662

0.1868

0.187

0.2129

0.2464

0.1805

0.1995

0.2666

mass of polymer
used /mg

1004

996

1004

999

1000

997

997

995

999

1000

pH in bubblers
(900 ml)

4.3

5.1

2.2

4.3

2.7

4.5

9.3

2.4

2.5

2.53

pH of
connecting tube
rinsing water
(100 ml)

4.8

5.1

2.2

4.1

2.9

3.8

5.8

2.4

2.3

2.53

final pH (1000
ml)

4.4

5.1

2.2

4.2

2.7

4.5

8.6

2.4

2.4

2.53

conductivity in
bubblers (900
ml) /S mm-1

1.5

0.4

199.9

3.3

66.8

1.3

3.0

150.0

145.0

97.8

conductivity of
connecting tube
rinsing water
(100 ml) /S
mm-1

0.5

4.3

0.3

2.8

38.5

6.2

1.5

151.0

0.2

105.1

final
conductivity
(1000 ml) /S
mm-1

1.4

1.0

181.4

2.9

61.6

1.6

2.8

150.6

131.4

98.5

millimoles of
acid per gram of
polymer used

4.38

0.80

3.22

3.00

Calculated pH

n/a

n/a

2.36

n/a

3.10

n/a

n/a

2.49

2.52

n/a

160

180

1.8

Smouldering
1.6

Well-ventilated flaming

1.4

Developed fire - low


ventilation

1.2
1
0.8
0.6

New buildings, especially large ones, or those open to the public


may require assessment by fire safety engineers in terms of
flammability and fire gas toxicity within the time required to
escape17.

0.4
0.2
0
0

20

40

60

80

100

120

Conductivity/ S mm

4. Results and Discussion


The results in table 2 show the composition of each cable by
weight, the pH and conductivity of each of the solutions and the
combined values, as described in the EN 50267-2-3 standard. The
additional analysis and calculated pH corroborates the data. The
expected clear differences are observed in both the pH and
conductivity for those cables based on PVC. However, the
proportion of acidity (or ionic conductivity) left in the tube rather
than collected in the bubbler is of concern because of the high
acid content in two cases, and because of the inconsistency of acid
gas deposition in the other two cases. This is easier to quantify in
terms of the conductivity which is proportional to the acidic
content, rather than the pH scale which is logarithmic.

Cat 5
UTP(c)

0.7208

(1)

The concept that the toxic potency of smoke may be approximated


by the contributions of a small number of gases has been termed
the N-Gas Model by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and
Technology (NIST). The "N-Gas Model" takes into account the
effects of CO2 on the toxicity of CO, as expressed empirically
from rat exposure studies. A large number of other toxic and
irritant gas species also contribute to the hazard from fire gases to
a lesser extent16, but these have not been addressed in the current
work.

NYM

mass of sheath
/g

FED

FED =

Table 3. Acidity of effluent obtained from 1 g of non


metallic cable compound for ten cables

140

200

-1

Figure 3. Variations of conductivity for tested cables and


for different fire conditions
Figure 3 shows the relationship between the measured
conductivity from the EN 50267-2-3 test and the FED measured
using IEC 606095-7-50. There are two clear types of behaviour.
In the first group of five cables, very low conductivity
corresponds with very low toxicity. However, as the fire stage
changes from smouldering well-ventilated developed fire,
so the toxicity, expressed as FED, increases. In the second group,
of four cables, consistently higher levels of conductivity
correspond with higher levels of toxicity, and in two of the four
cases the smouldering stage produces a more toxic effluent than
the well-ventilated stage. One cable shows higher effluent

conductivity but low toxicity. This is discussed in the following


section.

FED

1.8

1.8
1.6

HCl

1.4

hypoxia

1.2

CO

1
0.8

Smouldering
Well-ventilated flaming
Developed fire - low ventilation

1.6
1.4

0.6
0.4
0.2

1.2

PVC data

PVC Power FR Polyolefin FR Polyolefin


Power
data

RZ1-K

RV-K

Developed 825C

Smouldering 350C

Developed 825C

NO7V-K

Well-ventilated 650C

Developed 825C

Smouldering 350C

Well-ventilated 650C

Developed 825C

Smouldering 350C

Well-ventilated 650C

Smouldering 350C

Developed 825C

NHXMH
power

Well-ventilated 650C

Well-ventilated 650C

Developed 825C

UTP Cat 5

Smouldering 350C

Under-ventilated 825C

Developed 825C

0.6

Smouldering 350C

Developed 825C

Smouldering 350C

Well-ventilated 650C

Developed 825C

Smouldering 350C

Well-ventilated 650C

Developed 825C

Smouldering 350C

Well-ventilated 650C

0.8

Well-ventilated 650C

Smouldering 350C

FED

SSTP Cat 7

0.4

Figure 5. Contributions to toxicity as FED from the major


toxic species for each cable at each fire stage

0.2
0
2

pH

Figure 4. Variations of pH for tested cables and for


different fire conditions
Figures 4 presents the relationship between toxicity (expressed as
FED) and acidity (expressed as pH). For the cables tested the
same two groups appear on the figure. One group gave high pH
values (low acidity), greater than 4, and correspondingly low
toxicity, while the other gave pH values of 2.5 or less with
correspondingly higher toxicity. The change in pH corresponds to
a 50 fold difference in the acidic content.
In both the pH, conductivity and toxicity measurements, the four
members of the high acidity (low pH) high conductivity and high
toxicity group contained PVC and all those in the low toxicity,
low acidity and low conductivity group were low smoke zero
halogen (LSZH) formulations. The acidity classification is a
simple way of discriminating between the two common cable
formulations (LSZH and PVC), and thus a crude way of
classifying cables according to their fire toxicity.
Although the results give a clear indication of the link, one
specific cable fell outside these groups. The NHXMH cable is a
commercial cable sold under VDE 0250 Pt 214 classification. As
it fails the acidity test it clearly fails the product specification for
NHXMH. The surprising result is that our analysis of the cable
shows that it is in fact completely halogen free and therefore the
acid gases must be non halogen. This cable gave very low FED
values. The high pH (~8.5) for the SSTP cable could be due to
blowing agent decomposition products in the foamed insulation one of which will probably be ammonia, resulting in an alkaline
solution.

Figure 5 shows the contribution of the individual components to


the toxicity depicted in figures 3 and 4, for each of the ten cables.
This shows the main components of the FED, carbon monoxide,
oxygen depletion and hydrogen chloride. For each cable, the FED
is shown for each of the three fire stages. In most cases (8/10) the
smouldering fire is the least toxic presumably due to the low mass
loss of the polyolefin polymers at 350C. However, this
temperature is high enough to release HCl from PVC in two cases,
but perhaps not high enough to allow HCl to be trapped by the
chalk. In general the FED, based on the limited range of gases
analysed, increases from smouldering to well-ventilated to
developed flaming. This is in line with expectations.
The two major toxicants are seen to be CO and HCl. However it is
notable that the CO yield in the PVC fires is greater than that in
the halogen free fires and it is also noted that CO yield in the PVC
fires increase with vitiation. This is unexpected as the CO yield
for pure PVC is independent of ventilation[19]. For HCl the yield
is almost independent of ventilation.
Earlier in 2006 Messa[20] published a data describing fire effluent
composition from cables tested using the large-scale classification
test prEN50399. This tested multiple 3.5 m lengths of cable by
igniting with a propane burner inside an enclosure. In this test
different amounts of cable were burnt depending on the flame
spread characteristics. However, the mass loss was at least
approximately known, and therefore estimates of toxic product
yield could be made. A comparison of the FED data for five
cables between bench and large scale is presented in Figure 6.
However, in the large scale test the extent of burning can vary by
an order of magnitude, so to make the comparison, these data are
presented on a mass loss basis.

1.8
1.6

hypoxia

CO

HCl

1.4

FED

1.2
1
0.8
0.6
0.4
0.2

RZ1-K

RV-K

NYM

NO7V-K

Large scale

Well-ventilated 650C

Large scale

Well-ventilated 650C

Large scale

Well-ventilated 650C

Large scale

Well-ventilated 650C

Large scale

Well-ventilated 650C

cable. For the much thinner NO7V-K a comparison is invalid


because of the different burning behaviour. In this case in the
large scale test, a small triangle of cable burns so rapidly that the
remaining cable does not ignite, leaving most of the cable
undamaged. This illustrates that, for the cables considered here,
the differences between the bench and large scale test data
become almost insignificant compared to the differences between
materials and fire scenarios, when used as part of a toxic fire
hazard assessment.

5. Conclusions
1.

SSTP Cat 7

Figure 6. Fractional Effective Dose (FED) of fire effluents


from bench- and large-scale tests
This shows good agreement between the two methods, and
comparable contributions from each component, within the
limitations of the data available. It also predicts significantly
greater fire gas toxicity from burning the same mass of halogen
containing cable (RV-K, NYM and NO7V-K) than from burning
either of the zero-halogen formulations.

2.

3.
4.

5.
The mass loss data for the large scale test shows differences in the
extent of burning for the different cables, which would impact on
the assessment of toxic hazard. While it is outside the scope of
this work, and clearly highly dependent on the fire scenario,
(including details such as the mounting and separation of the
cables) simply multiplying the FED by extent of burning (the ratio
of the mass lost in the large scale test to that in the tube furnace)
gives an indication of the relative toxic hazard for the particular
fire scenario represented by the prEN 50399-2-2 test. This data is
shown in Figure 7.

Toxic yield data measured according to IEC60695-7-50 for


4 PVC based and 6 LSZH cables is reported. The results
show clear correspondence between FED and acid gas
measured according to EN 50297-2-3:1998.
The acidity classification is a simple way of discriminating
between the two common cable formulations (LSZH and
PVC), and thus a crude way of classifying cables according
to their fire toxicity.
The most toxic fire condition is confirmed to be the under
ventilated fully developed fire.
For the samples tested the CO yield for the PVC cables was
greater than that measured for the LSZH cables and also
increased with reduced ventilation. In comparison the HCl
yield was more or less independent of ventilation.
A more limited attempt to compare results with previously
reported large scale data indicates a degree of correlation.
This is the subject of ongoing research.

6. References
[1] CONSTRUCT 04/652 Draft COMMISSION DECISION
Implementing Council Directive 89/106/EEC as regards the
classification of the reaction to fire performance of cables.
[2] CONSTRUCT 04/652 Draft COMMISSION DECISION
Implementing Council Directive 89/106/EEC as regards the
classification of the reaction to fire performance of cables.

1.2

FED x Extent of burning

[3] CONSTRUCT 04/652 Draft COMMISSION DECISION


Implementing Council Directive 89/106/EEC as regards the
classification of the reaction to fire performance of cables.

Large Scale
Well Ventilated
0.8

0.6

[4] CONSTRUCT 04/652 Draft COMMISSION DECISION


Implementing Council Directive 89/106/EEC as regards the
classification of the reaction to fire performance of cables.

0.4

[5] Benefeu The benefits of fire safety engineering within the


European Union, Proceedings Conference, Luxembourg,
Nov 2002

0.2

0
RZ1-K

RV-K

NYM

NO7V-K

SSTP Cat 7

Figure 7. Simplified relative toxic hazard assessment,


obtained by multiplying the toxic product yields and the
extent of burning from the large scale test.
For the three energy cables, of broadly similar construction, this
shows the greatest relative toxic hazard in this particular fire
scenario would come from the RV-K cable, followed by the NYM
cables, with the lowest toxic hazard coming from the zero-halogen

[6] CONSTRUCT 04/652 Draft COMMISSION DECISION


Implementing Council Directive 89/106/EEC as regards the
classification of the reaction to fire performance of cables.
[7] CONSTRUCT 04/652 Draft COMMISSION DECISION
Implementing Council Directive 89/106/EEC as regards the
classification of the reaction to fire performance of cables.
[8] CONSTRUCT 04/652 Draft COMMISSION DECISION
Implementing Council Directive 89/106/EEC as regards the
classification of the reaction to fire performance of cables.

[9] CONSTRUCT 04/652 Draft COMMISSION DECISION


Implementing Council Directive 89/106/EEC as regards the
classification of the reaction to fire performance of cables.

[13] CONSTRUCT 04/652 Draft COMMISSION DECISION


Implementing Council Directive 89/106/EEC as regards the
classification of the reaction to fire performance of cables.

[10] Messa S. et al, Conference Flame Retardants, London 2006,


http://www.lsfire.it/documenti/toxicitylondon2006/TOXICIT
Y%20v12%20-%20feb%202006.pdf

[14] CONSTRUCT 04/652 Draft COMMISSION DECISION


Implementing Council Directive 89/106/EEC as regards the
classification of the reaction to fire performance of cables.

[11] T R Hull, C L Wills, T Artingstall, D Price and G J Milnes,


in Fire Retardancy of Polymers, Edited by Bourbigot S.
LeBras M, and Wilkie C.A., Chapter 28, p372 Royal Society
of Chemistry, (2005)

[15] Y Tsuchiya and K Sumi Journal of Fire and Flammability 3,


p. 46-50 (1972)

[12] CONSTRUCT 04/652 Draft COMMISSION DECISION


Implementing Council Directive 89/106/EEC as regards the
classification of the reaction to fire performance of cables.

[16] T. R. Hull, C. L. Wills, K. Lebek, K. Paul and D. Price.


Methodology for small-scale toxic hazard assessment of
burning cables.
[17] Life threat from fires Guidance on the estimation of time
available for escape using fire data; ISO TS 13571:2001

Technical paper submitted by:

J E Robinson
European Association of Flame Retardant Olefinic Cable
Compounds
c/o Borealis Polymers N.V.
Campus Mechelen,
Industriepark Noord,
Schalinhoevedreef 20 C,
B-2800 Mechelen,
Belgium.

GSM:

+32 475 28 2341

e-mail:

james.e.robinson@borealisgroup.com

Web:

www.frocc.org

Biography:
James Robinson has been involved for more than 25 years in the
development, manufacture and technical service of polyolefin
products for wire and cable applications. His current post is
Senior Technical Service Engineer within the Borealis Wire and
Cable business.

PAP 41/GB WC 2006 08