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TEST METHODS: >> Fabric Classification

FABRIC CLASSIFICATION TEST METHOD--1990

I. BACKGROUND

To participate in the UFAC Voluntary Action Program, upholstered furniture manufacturers must agree to produce their furniture in accordance with the basic UFAC construction criteria. In order to identify component materials which meet the UFAC requirements, a test method is needed to define acceptable performance in each criterion.

II. SCOPE

This test method is intended as the means of establishing the performance level of upholstery cover fabrics in contact with polyurethane foam with respect to cigarette ignition resistance. Fabrics which meet the requirements of this test method may be labeled as UFAC Class I, and may be used directly over conventional polyurethane in the horizontal seating surfaces of upholstered furniture bearing the UFAC hangtag. All other fabrics are UFAC Class II and require an approved barrier between the cover fabric and conventional polyurethane foam in the horizontal seating surfaces.

III. GENERAL PROCEDURE

Vertical and horizontal panels of two inch UFAC Standard Polyurethane Foam substrate are covered, using the fabric to be tested. The panels are placed in three specimen holders and a lighted cigarette is placed in each crevice formed by the abutment of vertical and horizontal panels of each assembly. Each cigarette is covered with a piece of sheeting fabric. The cigarettes are allowed to burn their entire length, unless an obvious ignition occurs. Test measurements and observations are recorded. A minimum of three test specimens is required for each cover fabric sample to be classified.

IV. DEFINITIONS

  1. IGNITION: Continuous, self-sustaining smoldering combustion of upholstered furniture substrates after exposure to burning cigarettes.

  2. OBVIOUS IGNITION: Pronounced continuous and self-sustaining combustion of the test system. Determination is a matter of operator judgment based upon experience in this type of testing.

  3. SAMPLE: Upholstery cover fabric material being classified.

  4. SPECIMEN: Individual piece of sample used in one test assembly.

  5. CHAR: Area of fabric which is destroyed or degraded from face to back, not including the area which is only discolored by smoke.

V. TEST MATERIALS

  1. IGNITION SOURCE: The ignition source for all tests shall be cigarettes without filter tips made from natural tobacco, 85 2 mm (3.3 0.1 in) long and with a packing density of 0.27 0.02 g/cm3 (0.16 0.01 oz/in3) and a total weight of 1.1 0.1 g (0.039 0.004 oz).

  2. SHEETING MATERIAL: 100% cotton bed sheeting material, weight 125 28 g/m2 (3.7 0.8 oz/yd2), white in color, and not treated with flame retardants, shall be used to cover test cigarettes. For testing, the fabric is cut into squares 127 x 127 mm (5.0 x 5.0 in).

  3. POLYURETHANE FOAM SUBSTRATE: Polyether type polyurethane foam which meets the requirements of the UFAC Filling/Padding Component Test Method--1990, containing no inorganic fillers or flame retardants, having a density of 24.0 1.6 kg/m3 (1.5 0.1 lb/ft3): UFAC Standard Polyurethane Foam. This material can be obtained from several commercial sources.

  • Substrate shall be cut into pieces 203 x 203 x 51 mm (8.0 x 8.0 x 2.0 in) for vertical panels and 127 x 203 x 51 mm (5.0 x 8.0 x 2.0 in) for horizontal panels.

  • Each panel shall be hand crushed before use by wadding or balling up one time in the fist.

  1. TEST ROOM: The test room shall be draft protected and equipped with a suitable system for exhausting smoke and noxious gases produced during testing.

  2. FIRE EXTINGUISHER: A pressurized water fire extinguisher or other suitable fire safety equipment shall be immediately available in the test room.

  3. WATER BOTTLE AND WATER BUCKET: A water bottle fitted with a spray nozzle shall be provided to extinguish any ignited portions of the test apparatus or components. A water bucket shall be provided for immersing smoldering or burning materials removed from the test apparatus or components.

  4. SCALE: A linear scale graduated in millimeters or tenths of an inch shall be used to measure char length.

  5. OTHER APPARATUS: In addition to the above enumerated items, straight pins, a knife or scissors, a staple gun and staples, and tongs are required to perform the testing.

VI. GENERAL REQUIREMENTS

1. TEST APPARATUS:

  1. The specimen holder shall consist of two wooden panels, each nominal 203 x 203 mm (8.0 x 8.0 in) and nominal 19 mm (0.75 in) thickness, joined together at one edge. As shown in Figure I, a moveable horizontal panel support is positioned on a centrally located guide.

TEST APPARATUS (Click here to view)

2. SAMPLE REQUIREMENTS:

  1. From the upholstery cover fabric sample to be classified, three specimens shall be cut for vertical panels each 203 x 381 mm (8.0 x 15.0 in) and three specimens for horizontal panels each 203 x 254 mm (8.0 x 10.0 in).

  2. The vertical panel specimens shall be cut with the long dimension being in the warp or machine direction and such that the major areas of weave variation will lie in the crevice of the assembled test apparatus.

  3. The horizontal panel specimens shall be cut such that the major areas of weave variation will lie on the crevice when specimens are mounted warp to warp with vertical panel specimens.

  4. For dyed and/or printed fabrics, color shall not constitute a difference with respect to cigarette ignition resistance in this test.

3. SPECIMEN MOUNTING:

  1. For vertical panels, place the cover fabric specimen on a 203 x 203 x 51 mm (8.0 x 8.0 x 2.0 in) polyurethane substrate as shown in Figure III, taking care that any areas of weave mentioned in SAMPLE REQUIREMENTS above are on the edge which will form the crevice of the assembled test apparatus. The warp or machine direction of the fabric should run front to back on the test assembly. Attach the cover fabric to the substrate with straight pins.

  2. For horizontal panels, place the cover fabric specimen on a 127 x 203 x 51 mm (5.0 x 8.0 x 2.0 in) polyurethane substrate as shown in Figure III, taking care that any areas of weave mentioned in SAMPLE REQUIREMENTS above are on the edge which will form the crevice of the assembled test apparatus. The warp or machine direction of the fabric should run front to back on the test assembly. Attach the cover fabric to the substrate with straight pins.

  3. Place the assembled vertical and horizontal panels in the specimen holders such that a snug fit without deformation as shown in Figure III is obtained.

VII. TEST PROCEDURE

  1. TESTING PRECAUTIONS: THE GASEOUS PRODUCTS OF SMOLDERING COMBUSTION ARE TOXIC. LARGE AMOUNTS OF CARBON MONOXIDE AND OTHER NOXIOUS GASES ARE PRODUCED BY SMOLDERING ORGANIC MATTER. TESTS SHOULD BE CONDUCTED IN A FUME HOOD OR ROOM PROVIDED WITH ADEQUATE MEANS FOR REMOVAL OF TOXIC FUMES.

  2. CONDITIONING: All test specimens, cover fabrics and test materials (including polyurethane, cigarettes and sheeting material) shall be conditioned at a temperature of 21o 3o C (70o 4o F) and between 50% and 66% relative humidity for at least four hours prior to testing. If the test room conditions do not meet the specifications above for the conditioning room, then testing must be initiated within ten minutes after the specimens are removed from the conditioning room.

  3. AIR VELOCITY: Zero airflow at the test surface is desirable, indicated by a minimum vertical smoke plume of 152 mm (6.0 in). A draft-preventive enclosure to restrict airflow to convection only is required. See Figure II.

  4. CONDUCTING THE TEST:

  • Each loaded specimen holder shall be placed on a table in the draft-preventive enclosure. Light three cigarettes and place one cigarette on each of the three test assemblies such that the cigarette lies in the crevice and against the vertical panel, equally spaced from each side. Immediately cover the cigarette with a piece of sheeting material, smoothing it over the cigarette to insure intimate contact. A finger run over the covered cigarette insures good fabric-to-cigarette contact. Pin top edge of sheeting to the vertical panel approximately 50 mm (2.0 in) above the cigarette.

  • Each cigarette is allowed to burn its entire length unless an obvious ignition occurs; otherwise, the test is considered valid when either (1) a cigarette has burned its entire length on each of the three individual test specimens or (2) three cigarettes have self-extinguished on the sample. A self-extinguished cigarette shall be replaced with a freshly lighted cigarette and covered with sheeting until either (1) or (2) above are met. Replacement cigarettes shall be located on an uncharred area of the specimen or on a new test assembly.

  1. TEST OBSERVATIONS:

  • If an obvious ignition occurs on any one of the three specimens, extinguish the smoldering materials, record the results of the test and test three additional specimens.

  • If no ignition occurs, measure the maximum height of the char on the vertical panel upward from the original crevice to the nearest 2 mm (0.1 in).

VIII. TEST CRITERIA

After removal of the sheeting cigarette cover cloth, leave the assembly intact while making char measurements.

  1. If all test specimens have no ignition, or if no individual specimen yields a vertical char of 44 mm (1.75 in) or greater, the fabric is a UFAC Class I cover fabric.

  2. If the vertical char of any of the three test specimens is equal to or greater than 44 mm (1.75 in), the fabric is a UFAC Class II cover fabric.

  3. If an obvious ignition of the polyurethane substrate occurs on one of more test assemblies, the fabric is a UFAC Class II cover fabric.

XI. REVIEW

This test procedure is subject to review, modification, and improvement. Please submit any suggestions, in writing, to:

UFAC CENTRAL
BOX 2436
HIGH POINT, NC 27261

A list of commercial sources of standard test materials can be obtained from UFAC Central.


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