Common uses for flammability and fire testing services are industry-specific applications; business Requirements testing; specific testing to satisfy industry-specific requirements; and as a part of standard testing services for structural steel, gemstone and epoxy construction. Flammability refers to how easily a substance can ignite when it comes in contact with fuel.
Flammability fire testing services evaluate the rate of ignition for combustible materials such as oil, gas, kerosene, and diesel. Standard combustion performance specifications must be met for materials deemed to be flammable, and the effects of varying temperatures and varying degrees of pressure on flammability are also taken into account.
There are many types of flammability and fire testing services, which are designed to test materials for combustibility. Some services include only passive tests, while others include active tests in addition to passive tests. Common active tests conducted with flammables include flashpoint and flash accident investigation, which determines if a material can be ignited using a flash from an explosive source; and thermal bridging analysis, which tests a material’s ability to absorb and release heat effectively and with minimal loss of combustible gases or liquids.
Passive tests, on the other hand, include such methods as burning, incineration, and absorption tests as well as exposure to extreme temperatures and pressures. Finally, there are analytical tests, which determine whether a flammable material is at risk of leaking or escaping, and flammability assessment tests that examine the chemical makeup of flammable materials.
While all three types of flammability testing services are important to the manufacturing and construction industries, they play particular roles in specific industries. Oil refineries, chemical manufacturers, food processing plants, and healthcare facilities often require flammability testing. In the oil refineries, this is especially true since there is a great deal of mechanical and chemical interaction in the process of processing crude oil. In chemical manufacturing, flammability testing is conducted during both design and production processes, and in the healthcare industry it is often performed before the material is discharged into the environment.
The two types of services provided by these specialists are environmental exposure and contract manufacturing. Environmental exposure refers to the direct personal health effects that a worker may have while working with flammable or combustible materials. Contract manufacturing involves the safe storage, transport, and disposal of materials, which may also include flammables. Both these services are typically contracted by the manufacturer, but sometimes a third party provider will also perform them on their behalf. If a manufacturer has more than one facility, it may be necessary to find a third party tester for each. This can be quite expensive, so it is often worthwhile to contract both services to a single provider.