Horizontal Fire Test

Horizontal Fire Test

The purpose of the investigation was to evaluate the large-scale fire propagation properties of unfaced 120 mm thickness Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) insulation material (BASF Styropor KF 262) when used as an insulation system for thermally insulated building envelopes. The system was tested for over-purlin applications.

1. Description of Material

The material evaluated was white 120 mm thickness Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) insulation material (BASF Styropor KF 262 – batch numbers 2230101 and 2930101) without any facing or backing material laminated onto the sheets. The samples were delivered in sheets of 6 m long and 1.2 m wide.

2. Test Procedures - SANS 10177-11 (horizontal installation without sprinklers)

The large-scale fire propagation properties of the material were evaluated in the FIRELAB large-scale roof insulation test facility. For this evaluation the specimen frames were aligned in such a way that the roof slope was equal to 3 degrees. The distance between the top of the fire source and the roof directly above it was 2.7 m. The insulation material was fitted to the specimen frames with corrugated roof sheeting directly on top of the material. The roof sheets were secured through the insulation material with self-tapering screws.

A schematic diagram of the test facility with the specimen frames are shown in Figure 3.1.1. The ignition source for the evaluation was constructed from 60 kg dry 38 mm x 38 mm SA Pine sticks stacked in an open-crib configuration to form a 1 000 mm x 750 mm x 480 mm high crib. The pack was ignited with 4 commercial firelighters, one at each corner, in order to simulate a fire with slow heat build-up. The fire source was located at one end of the facility, approximately 1.5 m from the front end, 1.5 m from the side and 1.5 m from the centre line of the specimen frame. The position of the crib was as indicated on the schematic layout.

Figure 3.1.1: SANS 10177-11 test facility with specimen frames
The product was not evaluated in conjunction with sprinklers. No mass loss measurements were taken during either of the evaluations. This evaluation investigated the fire propagation properties of the material when used as an over-purlin application with the purlins positioned across the width of the test facility. A schematic side view of a typical roof test installation is shown in Figure 3.1.2.


Figure 3.1.2: Typical roof test installation in the SANS 10177-11 facility

3. Test Results

The installation shortly before the ignition of the fire source is shown in Figure 4.1.1.


Figure 4.1.1: SANS 10177-11 test installation prior to ignition of fire source

The temperatures recorded during this test are displayed graphically in Figures 4.1.2 and 4.1.3 respectively.
Figure 4.1.2: Temperatures recorded on first panel during SANS 10177-11 test


Figure 4.1.3: Temperatures recorded on second panel during SANS 10177-11 test

The material started to shrink in the area direct above the fire source after approximately 3 ½ minutes with droplets and fragments of material being produced
after 4 ½ minutes. Figure 4.1.4 shows the debris on the floor after 5 minutes.


Figure 4.1.4: Debris on floor after 5 minutes

The insulation material continued to soften and form non-burning debris for the remainder of the test period with no ignition noted at any stage. No molten or other
debris was produced beyond the 4-m purlin. Figure 4.1.5 shows the installation subsequent to completion of the test.


Figure 4.1.5: Installation subsequent to completion of test

4. Discussion of Results

The material as tested would be classified as combustible in terms of SANS 10177- 5:2012 but no fire propagation was noted during the SANS 10177-11 large-scale fire
test as conducted. No molten or other debris were produced beyond the 4-m purlin either.

5. Conclusion

The following can be concluded for the 120 mm thickness unfaced EPS insulation material (BASF Styropor KF 262) as tested and installed over-purlin, and tested in
accordance with SANS 10177-11:
• The material is classified as combustible (B).
• The classification awarded to the material based on the performance as tested in accordance with the SANS 428 protocol is summarized as follows:
• Class B / B1 / 2/ H only (UNSPR)
• The performance of the material when installed as a side-cladding insulation was not evaluated.
• The suitability of this material when installed above an automatic sprinkler protection system was not evaluated.

In general, provision of adequate roof ventilation and/or a sprinkler protection system for each individual installation would need to be considered based on the size, slope and configuration of the roof and should be part of the fire safe design of the building to satisfy the requirements as contemplated by SANS 10400-T.
The above results does not relate to fire resistance. In instances where fire resistance is a requirement, this property needs to be determined in terms of SANS 10177-2.