How Is Fire-Resistant Glass Tested?

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Posted on: 30 November 2018 by John Bell

We often hear terms such as 'non-flammable' or 'fire-resistant' used for materials such as glass or panels, particularly when they're used in retirement homes, residential towers and other large buildings. But how is material such as fire resistant glass tested to ensure it meets the required standard?

From residential towers and HMOs to airports and public spaces, we often hear terms like 'non-flammable' and 'fire-resistant' used in relation to construction materials, particularly glass and exterior panels. These materials are designed to protect human life in the event of a fire, preventing the spread of any potential blaze. But how are these materials tested? 

We discussed the issue with Anders Glass, who explained how fire-resistant glass is tested to ensure it meets all required standards. 

In order to determine the performance of fire-resistant glass, it is placed within different frames and fixings (in many cases in every possible combination) and then put into a furnace. Devices attached to the glass record the temperature across different surface points, ensuring it is exposed to temperatures approaching 1,000 degrees C. 

Not only is the temperature increased to extremely high levels, but the rate of increase is deliberately fluctuated in order to simulate different kinds of fires (for example oil ignited, gas ignited, etc.). To achieve the required integrity, the glass must remain intact for various lengths of time, with no flaming occuring on the non-fire side of the glass. 

To achieve the required insulation rating, the glass must remain intact, with the temperature on the non-fire side of the glass not exceeding 140 degrees C across all measurement devices, and no higher than 180 degrees C on any single measurement. 

Achieving these ratings not only ensures the glass will prevent the spread of fire from one part of a building to another (or to neighbouring buildings), but will also ensure exit routes can be safely maintained during a blaze in order to allow people within the building to escape, as well as allowing emergency services personnel to enter the building. 

 

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