Reaction-to-fire tests evaluate the contribution of materials or products to the growth and spread of fire, typically within the early stages of fire development. The tests may focus on various aspects such as ignitability, flame spread, heat release rate, the heat of combustion, smoke production, or the production of toxic gases. The aggregate of these results can provide an indication of how the material is likely to behave in a fire. Reaction-to-fire tests are also used to classify materials or products based on their fire behaviour characteristics.
Reaction-to-fire testing


Classification criteria are set out by SANS 53501-1, which classifies materials based on reaction and contribution to fire. Possible classifications range from A1 - which is non-combustible, to F - which is a fire risk, and therefore, no adequate reaction to fire rating can be given.

For example, accurate classification according to SANS 53501-1 is important for insulation material where an incorrect classification carries significant risks, including the potential for serious loss of life.

The SANS 53501 classification system utilises five different tests. All of which are well within our expertise. The combination of these testing methods fully evaluates the reaction to fire properties of the material tested.
The Bomb Calorimeter
The Bomb Calorimeter
This test evaluates the gross heat of combustion within a closed vessel filled with pure oxygen at a pressure of 3000 kPa.
The Non-Combustibility (SANS 10177-5)
The Non-Combustibility
This test creates a hostile environment at 750°C, wherein the sample is then placed, evaluating the mass loss, sustained flaming, and temperature difference caused by the sample in the environment.
The Single Burning Item (SANS 53823)
The Single Burning Item
In this test, a small corner is made up of the material to be tested where a propane flame is started in the constructed corner. This test generates the smoke growth rate, fire growth rate, and flame spread.
The Ignitability (SANS 11925-2)
The Ignitability
This test takes a small sample and exposes it to a 20 mm propane flame, from which the flame spread within a set amount of time is evaluated.
The Radiant Heat Source for Flooring Material (EN 9239-1)
This test results in the critical heat flux here flooring material will ignite. Smoke growth rate and heat release rate can also be determined with this test method.
Cone Calorimetry (EN 5660)
Cone Calorimeter
This test gives important information from 100 mm x 100 mm samples about the fire properties of a material at different heat fluxes, delivering crucial information such as net heat of combustion, mass loss, heat release rate, and gas concentrations. This is not a classification test but produces valuable results about specific material reaction-to-fire properties.
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