Flammability of Plastics

Flammability of Plastics
The Age of Plastics

Plastics are everywhere: in food packaging, children’s toys, cars, industrial machinery, and hundreds of other applications. They are so prevalent because of the ease with which they can be mass–produced. By combining polymers according to different recipes, we can create materials that withstand extremely high melting points, or protect us from small arms fire, or ensure your fried eggs don’t stick to your frying pan. Because of the high density of their components, however, certain plastics are vulnerable to catching on fire. Their tendency for flammability inspired governments and industries to issue consumer safety regulations for plastics. The flammability of plastics is determined by utilizing various test methods from Underwriters Laboratories, FMVSS, ASTM, and ISO.

Using UL 94 to Determine the Flammability of Plastics
Specifically, UL94 entails exposing a test sample to an open flame for one minute and measuring the characteristics of its reaction. Engineers look out for: whether the material burned, how much of it burned, how long it burned after the flame was removed, how long the material glowed from the heat after the flame was removed, whether the sample dripped any burning material, and any unusual phenomena it displayed like warping or melting. In addition to noting this data, the person performing the test may assign a category to the material based on the results. These categories may be criteria for the use of that material in a specific application.

Flammability testing methods like UL94 are integral in making sure that products containing plastics are consumer-safe. Manufacturers face strict safety standards for plastics — standards that dictate products must be shown to have a certain level of resistance to combustion through approved testing by an accredited third party. Applied Technical Services, Inc is one such third-party, and a respected name in the fields of materials testing. We are ISO 17025 (A2LA) Accredited to perform UL94 testing, as well as other flammability testing standards.

ATS is thoroughly experienced in performing UL94 to determine the flammability of plastics. For 50 years, ATS has provided world-class testing, consulting, engineering, and inspection services to clients from a variety of industries. Our analysts deliver the most accurate test results in a timely manner — we will provide the information that empowers you to keep your products standard-compliant.

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