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GBH International was founded

by Dr. Marcelo Hirschler in 1995.

The company provides consulting

services relating to fire codes and

standards, as well as litigation

support in fire related cases.

GBH International has been the

North American Agent for Fire

ASTM E05, the Committee on Fire Standards, will Subcommittee E05.14 on External Fire Exposures will
Testing Technology since 1996.
meet in Denver, CO June 3-6. Here is a quick discuss a proposed new Standard Test Method for

summary of some of the notable items on the agenda. Determining Flammability of Exterior Wall Assemblies

for Multi-Story Structures.

Subcommittee E05.22 will discuss balloted revisions to

E84 and associated mounting methods, including a

revision to address the continuity of the flame front and

FTT was founded in 1989 as the
a new mounting method for Plastic Composite Deck
world’s first instrument company
Boards, Stair Treads, Guards or Handrails.
dedicated to the manufacture,

supply, maintenance, and service

Subcommittee E05.31 on Terminology and Services/
of fire testing equipment. FTT
Functions will discuss balloted revisions to E2989, Tim Earl
pioneered the manufacture of
Guide for Assessment of Continued Applicability of Director of Fire Test Engineering
commercial cone calorimeters,
Reaction to Fire Test Reports Used in Building GBH International
making them accessible to a
much larger number of

researchers. With hundreds of

Subcommittee E05.23 on Combustibility will discuss
instruments operating in labs
ballots to revise E136 and E2652, including title
worldwide, FTT is the world
leader in fire testing equipment.

Subcommittee E05.11 on Fire Resistance will discuss

a new Guide for Extension of Data for Fire-Resistive

Joint System Tests Conducted in Accordance with

ASTM E1966, along with proposed revisions to E1725.

What to use?

The question of substrates

comes up often when dealing

A Primer on Some of the Most
Commonly Used
with films and coatings. People
(and Misused) Terms
who are new to fire testing are

often unsure of how to properly

test such materials in device When discussing fire tests, it’s important to use correct terminology. Unfortunately, misuse of fire testing terms is all too common.

such as the cone calorimeter. So, here are some of the most frequently abused terms and their proper meaning.

There is no one-size-fits-all Reaction to Fire vs Fire Resistance: This is an important distinction which is often missed. Fire Resistance refers to a

answer regarding substrates. In material’s ability to withstand fire of protect other materials from fire for a period of time. Although ASTM E119 and it’s associated

general, it’s best to test on the time/temperature curve are widely known, there are many other fire resistance tests. Reaction to Fire, on the other hand, is the

substrate to which the product term for what happens to a material after it catches fire. In general, a fire test is either one or the other.

would normally be applied.

However, this may not be Noncombustible: While this may seem obvious, this term is often misused. A noncombustible material is one that doesn’t burn

practical if you make intumescent (under the specified test conditions). This is usually determined by testing to ASTM E136 or ISO 1182. Regulations published by

coatings for steel, for instance. ICC, NFPA, and ISO have specific definitions for noncombustible, generally referring to the standards. It is important to note that

In that case, some other everything that doesn’t meet those requirements is considered combustible, which encompasses the vast majority of materials.

noncombustible board may serve

as a stand-in for the steel, at Flammable: Distinguishing between “combustible” and “flammable” is important. In ASTM, it means something is a higher

least for development work, to hazard, subject to easy ignition and rapid flaming combustion. The ISO definition is different, simply meaning that a material is

avoid purchasing large quantities capable of burning with a flame (under specified conditions).

of precisely cut steel plate.

Smoke Developed Index (SDI): Sometimes people forget that this term is specific to ASTM E84 (and UL 723). Many other tests

When testing for regulatory quantity smoke measurements, but with different terms, such as Smoke Density (ASTM E662 / ISO 5659) and Smoke Production

purposes, the test method or Rate (ASTM E1354 / ISO 5660).

regulation (code) may require

tests to be run on the actual Repeatability vs Reproducibility: Repeatability concerns the variability between test results within a lab, while reproducibility

substrate intended for use, with concerns the variability of test results obtained at different labs.

the actual adhesive to be used.

This is very common with ASTM Intumesce: A material that swells up under exposure to heat is said to intumesce. This is an important concept, as some test

E84 (Steiner Tunnel) testing, for standards (such as ASTM E1354 and ISO 5660) have different procedures for testing intumescent materials.

instance. It is imperative that the

user consult the appropriate For more information on terms specific to ASTM fire standards, see ASTM E176, Standard Terminology of Fire Standards.

code or standard in such cases.

For more information, contact us at

For more information, email us:
Oxygen Index

To ASTM D 2863, ISO 4589, BS 2782 Part 141

• Paramagnetic oxygen analyzer for accurate oxygen measurements

• Compact unit designed for use under an existing hood.

• Automatic flow control permitting one-valve adjustment of oxygen


• Digital display of oxygen percentage during test (no calculations


• Digital display of temperature of gas mixture entering the chimney.

RELIABILITY • Sample holders for both rigid and flexible samples.

All FTT instruments are built with

the end user in mind. They are

designed to be easy to operate

and maintain, and can withstand

The Oxygen Index (LOI) fire test is perhaps the While many designs of the LOI test apparatus
years of frequent use.
most economical and precise quality control test calculate oxygen index based on the flow of
for combustible materials. Its ease of use oxygen and nitrogen, the FTT unit incorporates
together with high levels of precision has made a paramagnetic oxygen analyzer for precise
With hundreds of instruments
this technique a primary characterization and measurement of oxygen concentration without
operating in labs worldwide, FTT
quality control tool for the plastic materials and the need for calculations and frequent
is the world leader in fire test
electric cable industries. It is often used in recalibrations.
materials specifications and material/product
data sheets and included in some US Mil
Specs. The test assesses the minimum
GBH International’s North
percentage of oxygen in the test atmosphere
American based service
that is required to marginally support
department provides round the
clock phone and email support,

as well as emergency site visits

to assist your lab personnel with

operation and maintenance.

June 3-6, 2019, Denver, CO

In the June issue, we will

July 1-3, 2019, North Windsor, UK
discuss the Microscale
Combustion Calorimeter


October 28-31, Atlantic City, NJ

Fire Testing News Volume 11 #05 May 2019

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Can you tell what this is and what is


The answer will appear in the next

issue of Fire Testing News.