Fire Behavior of Materials

Firelab TÜV SÜD Schweiz Process Safety

Firelab TÜV SÜD Schweiz Process Safety


In Switzerland TÜV SÜD Process Safety is accredited to perform numerous tests on fire behavior of materials:

  • Radiant panel tests
  • Ignition of plastic
  • Smoldering fires
  • Cup burner test

radiant panel tests

Radiant Panel Test according to EN ISO 9239-1 can be applied to floorings and bulk materials to determine the reaction of the material to fire. The data is required for Euro-Classification of Products according to EN 13501-1.

Our laboratory is accredited ISO 17025:2005. We are also a member of EGOLF and a certified laboratory according to EU Directive 89/106/EEC (Notify Body NB 2139).

Ignition Properties of Plastic Material according to ASTM D 1929


The objective is to determine at which temperature plastic material (sheet or granules) releases flammable gases and vapors to the extent, mixed with air, an explosive mixture could be formed and ignited with a pilot flame.

This "flash-point" for plastic is an important safety characteristic, which can be used to assess explosion and fire risk in plants where plastic material is processed, handled or stored.

Self-Ignition Temperature

The objective of this method is to determine the temperature at which gases and vapors released from plastic sheets or granules spontaneously catch on fire, i.e. without any contact with an external ignition source. The Self-Ignition  Temperature is relevant for the assessment of ignition risks due to hot surfaces in plant where plastic material is processed, e.g. in extruders.
The tests are carried out by exposing the test item (sample) in an oven to a controlled stream of hot, fresh air. Ignition is detected by monitoring the temperature of the sample. For a flash ignition test, a pilot flame above the exhaust of the oven is used. For a self-ignition test, no external ignition source is applied. The tests are carried out in isothermal mode, i.e. at constant temperature. Several tests, using different temperatures and various air flow rates are necessary to find the lowest temperature at which ignition does occur.

Early detection of smoldering fires

In plants where material is processed, the detection of smoldering fires is a big challenge: Optical detection by Infra Red Sensors or smoke detectors is rendered difficult due to dust clouds inside the equipment. Temperature sensors deliver only information on their local environment and cannot detect hot spots over a certain distance.

The detection of decomposition or smoldering gas, in particular Carbon Monoxide (CO), may be a solution to this issue. CO-Monitoring is already well-established in many drying processes. It might also be the solution for the protection of your plant  and employees.

The Cup burner Test

The Cup Burner Test is used to determine the right flame extinguishing concentrations of gaseous agents for flammable liquid fuels. The liquid is filled into a vertical glass tube. Then it is heated depending on its flash point and ignited at the surface. The extinguishing gas is added in increasing concentration to the air flow around the flame, until the flame is suppressed.


If you have further questions or need more information, please contact our firelab here.

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