Material identification lab launched by the Fire Protection Association


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In a bid to improve the quality of the built environment, the Fire Protection Association (FPA) has launched a new versatile and comprehensive fire testing and research facilities in the UK.

The FPA recently expanded its testing capabilities at its laboratory in Gloucestershire by investing in a new material identification testing service to help identify the type of insulation material used on a building.

The Testing Process

A total of three tests are conducted to identify whether the sample is PUR, PIR, phenolic foam, or wool. In order to carry out the insulation identification, a minimum sample size of 100mm by 100mm is required which is run through three machines:

The microcalorimeter determines the temperature at which the material combusts and the amount of heat released. The elemental analyser shows the chemical composition of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and sulphur in the material. The Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer (FTIR) measures the absorbance of infrared light which is analysed to determine the material’s molecular composition. 

Following the identification process, a comprehensive report outlining the test methodology and analysis is provided within 4-6 weeks of receipt of the samples.

FPA Managing Director, Jonathan O’Neill OBE said: “Not only does our new material identification testing service allow for the insulation material used on a building to be identified, it adds another significant benefit around verification.

“By fingerprinting the insulation samples, we can protect against material substitution, meaning we can assess whether a product installed on a building is the same as was submitted for fire testing. This also ensures the integrity of our UKAS accredited BS 8414 cladding tests.”

As a not-for-profit organisation, the FPA has priced its services competitively. The new material identification service includes three tests on each of our three machines, and costs £1,500 plus VAT.

Find out more about the new material identification service.

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