The UTFRG Flammability Lab is located in the Engineering Teaching Center II building on the main campus of the University of Texas at Austin. The laboratory is equipped with specific instruments designed to characterize material flammability.
Dual Cone Calorimeter
The cone calorimeter is an instrument system that is used to quantify the burning characteristics of plastics, woods, and other materials. The cone calorimeter is named due to its unique cone shaped infrared heating element that is situated above the material test specimen. The truncated cone shape heater uniformly heats the specimen while allowing for any potential smoke and flame to pass through without impinging on the heater surface. Several quantities of interested can be measured including heat release rate, smoke obscuration and mass loss. From these measurements, the effective heat of combustion, time to ignition, and total energy can be determined.
Micro Combustion Calorimeter
The micro combustion calorimeter (MCC) is another instrument system that is used to quantify the burning characteristics of materials. MCC was developed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as a research tool to support material development of fire resistant materials for aviation applications. Since it's introduction, MCC has been proven to be a powerful tool that allows testing of smaller sample sizes. Similar to Cone Calorimetry, MCC provides measurements of heat release rate, ignition characteristics and heat of combustion.
UL 94 Flammability Test Apparatus
UL-94 is a test procedure developed by UL to determine flame retardancy of materials such as plastics or textiles. The test procedure calls for a specific test apparatus that is free of drafts and appropriately sized. In the test, a vertical specimen is mounted and ignited at the bottom. The flame spread rate and extinction characteristics are observed. Based on these observations, the material is given a flame retardant classification.
Limiting Oxygen Index Test Apparatus
Limiting Oxygen Index (LOI) is another flammability test procedure used to determine the minimum concentration of oxygen required to support combustion of a material such as plastic. LOI is another important metric that is used to characterize material flammability