ASTM Fire Committee Approves Fire Resistance, Furnace Exposure Standards

Subcommittee E05.11 on Fire Resistance is responsible for two new standards recently approved by ASTM International Committee E05 on Fire Standards.

It is a common practice to modify the tests contained in ASTM E119, Test Methods for Fire Tests of Building Construction and Materials, in order to gather information on the effect of altering specific variables. However, there has been no standard for designing these experiments and no common reporting format, making comparisons with other research tests difficult. A new standard, ASTM E2748, Guide for Fire Resistance Experiments, describes and standardizes how variations can be made so that different investigators looking at the same or similar variables do so in a similar manner, making information more comparable.

“There is a move toward modeling, and the dearth of input data for the models is problematic,” says Dr. Robert Wessel, assistant executive director, Gypsum Association, and a longtime ASTM member. “Fire modeling also leads to the use of design test fires based on the expected or actual fire hazard in a given building. The end result is a wide range of reporting and recording practices. The goal is to try and make it possible to generate input data for fire models.”

Wessel says that ASTM E2748 resolves some of these issues and provides a place for researchers to add guidance for altering other variables not currently covered.  “ASTM E2748 standardizes how test specimens are instrumented for specific dependent variables to minimize the effects of confounding variables introduced by using different instrumentation that may or may not be comparable to each other,” says Wessel. “The guide also specifies how and what is to be recorded and reported so that different tests provide the same type of information reported in a similar manner to make the reports easier to compare against one another.”

Wessel says that all fire resistance laboratories are invited to participate in future revisions to ASTM E2748.

Another new E05.11 standard, ASTM E2749, Practice for Measuring the Uniformity of Furnace Exposure on Test Specimens, fills the need for a standardized procedure to assess the performance of furnaces.

“The application of ASTM E2749 will provide a means to document the performance of fire test furnaces over an extended period of time,” says Robert Berhinig, Berhinig Services LLC, and a member of E05. “Results from ASTM E2749 can be used to document the continued uniformity of furnace performance after significant repairs or modifications have been made.”

According to Berhinig, ASTM E2749 will be used by fire test laboratories and agencies involved with certifications related to standards such as ASTM E119 and ASTM E814, Test Method for Fire Tests of Penetration Firestop Systems.

“The next step is to establish benchmark performance requirements for furnaces used to conduct fire tests such as described in ASTM E119 and ASTM E814,” says Berhinig. “These and other fire test standards using similar equipment do not include calibration procedures or requirements for the furnaces. It is envisioned that ASTM E2749 could provide the method whereby the benchmark performance requirements could be developed.”

For more information, visit www.astm.org.

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