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ASTM E-84 FR Test Completes Dr. Shade’s FR Series

This month we will complete everyone’s favorite subject, flame retardancy and testing! The good news is, this is the last of three blogs addressing the three main FR testing methods.

To refresh from my previous blog, the three FR test methods used for most Architectural Fabrics, Shadecloth and Vinyl Material are ASTM E-84, NFPA 701, and California State Fire Marshall (CSFM) Title 19. In my last two Dr. Shade blogs, we covered the CSFM and NFPA 701, so this month we are covering the ASTM E-84 Fire Retardancy test method.

ASTM E-84 is a voluntary industry FR specification, and ASTM International who is an international standards organization, does not keep the detailed records on which fabrics pass. ASTM is typically used for wall covering and was the industry FR test standard for many years. It is now mostly used for indoor fabrics and some specialty outdoor fabrics.

So, what is ASTM E84?

ASTM E-84 is intended to provide only comparative measurements of surface flame spread and smoke density with that of select grade red oak and fiber-cement board surfaces under the specific fire exposure conditions. Simply put, ASTM E-84 measures the flame spread and smoke index, which are considered the surface burning characteristics of a material.

Depending on the numbers, materials can have classifications of Class A, B, or C according to NFPA, ANSI/NFPA No. 101, “life Safety Code”, 2006 Edition, or IBC (International Building Code), 2006 Edition, Chapter 8, Interior Finishes, Section 803, if they pass any level of this standard.  The test is conducted in a fire tunnel using a 22″ x 24′ sample of the material.  The ignition source is 7 seconds in duration, total test is 10 minutes.  The flame front cannot exceed 24” during the test.  Results are expressed as Flame Spread Index, and Smoke Developed Value.  Following are the criteria for each level of this test, regardless of whether NFPA or IBC.
For products that pass these criteria

  • Class A, Flame Spread 1-25, Smoke Developed Less than or equal to 450
  • Class B, Flame Spread 26-75, Smoke Developed Less than or equal to 450
  • Class C, Flame Spread 76-200, Smoke Developed Less than or equal to 450

Please note, this test is comparable to UL 723, ANSI/NFPA No 255, and UBC No. 8-1

ASTM International does not do testing and certification of fabric, so you’ll need to have your material tested by an independent testing lab if you require a certificate.

Value Vinyls have many fabrics that meet ASTM E-84 Standards. For more information contact us at the following link Value Vinyls, or call us at 877-716-6651.

SOURCE American Society for Testing and Materials

SOURCE National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA)

SOURCE Office of the California State Fire Marshal

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