Material Analysis Testing

To support the identification of cladding and insulation materials installed on and within buildings, the Fire Protection Association offers material analysis testing at our laboratory in Gloucestershire. The analysis is based on an evaluation of the chemical composition of the materials which is supported by physical tests.

This service is not intended to replace large-scale fire tests such as BS 8414 which tests the fire performance of external cladding on buildings, but is designed to provide data for identifying materials that have already been subjected to and classified against such a fire test.

Insulation testing can also provide a cross-reference to the insulation material used in a full-scale test, helping to provide comparisons between the material tested at full-scale and the material used in or on a building, providing reassurance that the correct insulation material has been used on the building.

How do we analyse materials?

To carry out the testing, we analyse the composition of key elements of the materials, the chemical bonds between molecules, the thermal decomposition, and the heat of combustion under different conditions.

We conduct the testing using a variety of methods including:

  • Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR)
  • Microscale Combustion Calorimetry (MCC)
  • Gas Chromatography (GC).

Materials subjected for analysis are compared against the FPA’s database to receive one of the following results:

  • an exact match with a specific product type in the cladding material database
  • a partial match with similar materials in the database
  • no match (this can be the case for novel materials).

Any data relevant to the material’s fire performance is included in the test report for the purpose of identifying the materials. For determining full-scale fire performance, materials should be subjected to the relevant fire test protocol, such as BS 8414.

Material samples

To carry out the analysis, a sample size of at least 50 x 50 mm (length x width) is required. The depth of the sample must be the same as the depth of the product. Please note that as the testing is destructive, it will not be possible for us to return the sample to you.

We supply specialist pre-paid postage boxes for you to send your sample in and our experienced technicians provide a comprehensive report outlining the test methodology and analysis within 4-6 weeks of receipt of the materials at our laboratory.

Full-scale fire testing at the FPA

Material analysis testing is included within the FPA’s BS 8414 testing service and reports. This process is intended to provide a fingerprint of the insulation materials used in the full-scale test so that there is a permanent record of the tested material to a chemical composition level. This also enables insulation materials installed on buildings to be tested to identify if there is a significant match with an insulation product in our database. Please note that the evaluation of suitability for the material under consideration is beyond the testing scope. Find out more about the FPA’s BS 8414 Cladding Testing.

Why use the FPA for testing?

  • Testing is completed at our FPA laboratory in Gloucestershire, UK and not subcontracted
  • Experienced laboratory staff with excellent technical capabilities
  • Testing can be linked to full-scale cladding tests
  • Independent and impartial results
  • Excellent report turnaround times
  • State-of-the-art testing facilities.

Competitive Prices

As a not-for-profit organisation, we price our services competitively. Our material analysis testing service costs £1,575 plus VAT.

Download our fire research and testing brochure.

 

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