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A fire door test at Lorient

February 21, 2014 by · Comments Off on A fire door test at Lorient 

Members of the Institute of Architectural Ironmongers were treated to a fire test at Lorient UK‘s headquarters in Newton Abbot today.  The furnace was fitted with two miniature hinged 30 minute fire doors (FD30s) each with reinforced vision panels.  The door on the left was fully sealed with intumescent materials, which are designed to swell up under extreme heat – sealing the gaps and slowing the progression of the fire.  The door on the right was unsealed.
fire test 1
With observers fully kitted out in safety glasses, at 3.22pm the gas furnace was switched on.  Within 3 minutes the air temperature inside was approaching 500°C and wisps of smoke were seen emanating from around the frame of the unsealed door.  There were occasional puffs from the bottom of the sealed door at this stage and indeed, the unsealed door stopped smoking for a while.  A wide variation in results (up to 15%) is permissible under test conditions within the first 10 minutes of the test, but after that the door’s behaviour becomes more strictly monitored.  There are a variety of intumescent materials depending upon the use; for the purposes of this test Lorient’s 10 x 4mm intumescent fire & smoke seals (made from sodium silicate) were morticed into the frame around the sides & top of the sealed door.
fire test 2
The hinges (Royde & Tucker HiLoad) were backed with intumescent hinge pads made from mono-ammonium phosphate (MAP).  The glass vision panel was surrounded by intumescent glazing gasket made from a graphite compound.  The unsealed door had none of these advantages and, sure enough, 22 minutes into the test at a temperature of 800°C it was well blackened at the top and smoking like a chimney – particularly from the top leading edge corner – opposite the hinge side.  The glass panels in both cases had been crackling away periodically and had begun spitting a few tiny shards onto the floor.
fire test
Two minutes later flames began to flash outside the top half of the unsealed door but this itself is not considered “failure” – this comes when flames are sustained outside the furnace for 10 seconds – and in this test failure occurred for the unsealed door at 27 minutes.  A Georgia Pacific gypsum board was attached over the blazing breach and edged around with Lorient intumescent sealant so the test could continue with our attention drawn to the sealed door.  By now this poor door was really showing the strain, particularly around the vision panel, where the graphite was bulging and sooty grey smolderings were discolouring the top and frame.  The room, part of Lorient’s high tech testing facilities snuggled in the lee of the Dartmoor countryside, was warm but not uncomfortably so – surely the furnace was nicely insulated and extracted – I had been warned that fire tests can become overwhelmingly hot for observers, so this pleased me.  At 42 minutes and a temperature of nearly 700°C insistent flames began licking up from the lower hinge side of the frame – the sealed door surrendered to its fate and the test was over.

Intumescent strips for fire doors

February 16, 2013 by · Comments Off on Intumescent strips for fire doors 

intumescent-fire-sealsFire Regulations require intumescent seals to be rebated into the edge of fire doors to provide passive fire protection. Upon exposure to heat in the event of a fire, the intumescent material swells up to seal the gap between door and frame, this dramatically slows down the spread of the fire from room to room, giving precious time for evacuation and rescue. Depending upon the door and the application, these may be 30 minute or 60 minute fire seals, and they may be just fire seals or fire & smoke, which incorporate a brush or rubberised strip which prevents smoke from passing through the gap. If you’re not sure which ones you need, check with your Fire Officer or Building Control Officer. Doorstuff supplies 3 sizes of each type, available in both white and brown, prices start at £1.17 per 2100mm strip.

Recommend a fire door closer?

February 4, 2010 by · Comments Off on Recommend a fire door closer? 

(from Bob) Q: On behalf of the Residents Association for a 2 storey (3 floor) block of flats built in 1968, we are thinking of replacing all of the original flat front doors (which give on to the common stair wells) with fire doors. Can you recommend a suitable automatic door closer for a 30 minute fire door with intumescent fire & smoke seals?
(from Doorstuff) A: Because of the extra force required to close the door over the brush (smoke) seals, we would recommend the Geze TS4000 door closer as it is fully adjustable from power size 1 – 6, visit it on our web page which shows the quantity discounts, etc.