When you think about it, testing fire doors might seem like a straightforward process. You submit the specimen, and it is placed in a fire for an appropriate duration or until failure. Then a report is prepared. However, the whole testing process is anything but simple. There are particular areas that the testing procedure looks at to determine whether a fire door meets stipulated quality standards. Therefore, one might ask what tests are carried out during a fire testing procedure. This article highlights the essential integrity tests that are part of the fire testing exercise.
Continuous Flaming Integrity — Since doors have two sides when a fire occurs, you will almost always have a fire side and a non-fire side. As the name suggests, the fire side is the part that is engulfed in fire, whereas the non-fire side stays away from a furnace. During testing, it is essential to test how long the non-fire side can sustain flaming. Ideally, the non-fire side is supposed to remain intact for a specified amount of time to pass the continuous flaming integrity. In a fire incidence, a door that passes continuous flaming integrity can go a long way in protecting occupants and ensuring timely evacuation.
Cotton Pad Integrity — Notably, only a small fraction of fire fatalities are caused by direct fire. Smoke and hot gases contribute to a majority of these fatalities. Therefore, testing the hotness of gases passing through cracks on a fire door is essential to determining its protective ability. This is where the cotton pad integrity test comes in. During the test, a cotton pad is presented to hot spots on the surface of the door, as well as the gases passing through cracks. If the gases are hot enough to ignite the cotton pad, then the fire door might put occupants at risk because the risk of fire spreading to the non-fire side is heightened. However, if the fire door is robust enough, the non-fire side will not get hot enough to ignite the cotton pad.
Insulation Integrity — All fire doors are equipped with insulation to help keep the heat at bay in case of a fire. The insulation must, therefore, be tested for integrity before the door is put to use. Ideally, the role of testing the door's insulation integrity is to determine the level or rate of insulation failure during a fire. The test involves attaching sensors to the insulation and logging the readings throughout the test. In laboratory settings, insulation should reach at least 180 degrees before total failure is recorded. This is an indication that a fire door is well-insulated for its fire protection function.
To learn more about fire testing, consult a resource in your area.