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ASTM E162 - Radiant Panel Testing

ASTM E162 - Surface Flammability of Materials Using a Radiant Heat Energy Source

The ASTM E162 standard applies to surface flammability of materials commonly used in manufacturing.  It is required in various specifications in the mass transit industry (buses and trains), Federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards (24 CFR 3280) , and the Standard for Recreational Vehicles (NFPA 1192).

The test method was originally published in 1960. Its unique feature is that the sample is exposed to a 12 by 18-in radiant heat source and reflects more accurately what might be found in a real fire environment.

ASTM E162 was developed as a less expensive and more convenient flame spread test alternative to E84.  The tunnel specified by E 84 constitutes an expensive and cumbersome piece of apparatus. The ASTM radiant panel test has numerous advantages over that of E84. The sample size of the E162 is 6 by 18-in, while E84 requires a sample 20-in by 25-ft long, which is a rather large size to deal with. It should be noted, however, that (4) samples are required for E162, whereas E84 requires only one.


>> ASTM E 162 – Standard


> ASTM E162: Standard Test Method for Surface Flammability of Materials Using a Radiant Heat Energy Source


>> ASTM E 162 - Significance and Use


This test method provides a laboratory test procedure for measuring and comparing the surface flammability of materials when exposed to a prescribed level of radiant heat energy. It is intended for use in measurements of the surface flammability of materials exposed to fire. The test is conducted using small specimens that are representative, to the extent possible, of the material or assembly being evaluated. (Example: in terms of their thickness, layering, and any potential substrate.)


The rate at which flames will travel along surfaces depends upon the physical and thermal properties of the material, product or assembly under test, the specimen mounting method and orientation, the type and level of fire or heat exposure, the availability of air, and properties of the surrounding enclosure.


In this procedure, the specimens are subjected to one or more specific sets of laboratory fire test conditions. If different test conditions are substituted or the end-use conditions are changed, it is not always possible by or from this test to predict changes in the fire-test-response characteristics measured. Therefore, the results are valid only for the fire test exposure conditions described in this procedure.


If the test results obtained by this test method are to be considered as part of an overall assessment of fire hazard in a building or structure, then the example criteria, concepts and procedures incorporated into Guide E 1546 shall be taken into consideration.


>> ASTM E 162 - Scope


> This fire-test-response standard describes the measurement of surface flammability of materials. It is not intended for use as a basis of ratings for building code purposes.


> The values stated in inch-pound units are to be regarded as standard. The values given in parentheses are mathematical conversions to SI units that are provided for information only and are not considered standard.


> This standard measures and describes the response of materials, products, or assemblies to heat and flame under controlled conditions, but does not by itself incorporate all factors required for fire hazard or fire risk assessment of the materials, products, or assemblies under actual fire conditions.


> This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.


> Fire testing of products and materials is inherently hazardous, and adequate safeguards for personnel and property shall be employed in conducting these tests. This test method may involve hazardous materials, operations, and equipment. Specific information about hazard is given in Section 7.



>> ASTM E 162 - Referenced Documents


> ASTM D3675: Test Method for Surface Flammability of Flexible Cellular Materials Using a Radiant Heat Energy Source

> ASTM E1546: Guide for Development of Fire-Hazard-Assessment Standards

> ASTM E176 Terminology of Fire Standards

> ASTM E84 Test Method for Surface Burning Characteristics of Building Materials