Cone Calorimeter Fire Performance Evaluation
Sample SwRI cone calorimeter test report
Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has the expertise and
facilities to perform a variety of standard and custom fire performance evaluations
required by industry. The most advanced laboratory device used for this purpose is the
- Built and operated in accordance with ASTM E1354 and with the
latest information from ASTM Committee E-5 and ISO Technical Committee 92
- Can be operated in accordance with Cone Calorimeter application
standards to evaluate specific types of products and uses:
- ISO 5660-1 for heat release rate of building materials
- ASTM E1474 and CBUF protocol for upholstered furniture
- CAN ULC S135 for degrees of combustibility of building materials
- Fire parameters obtained include rate of heat release, time to
ignition, rate of mass loss, smoke-specific extinction area, and effective heat of
- Rate of evolution of toxic gases (e.g., CO, HCl, and HCN) can be
- Results can be used in fire hazard assessment and in predictions
of full-scale fire performance, through correlations or via computer fire modeling
The Cone Calorimeter
The cone calorimeter is a small-scale instrument that measures
rate of heat release of materials under a wide range of conditions, using the oxygen
consumption technique. A square sample of 100 x 100 mm (4 x 4 in.) is exposed to the
radiant flux of an electric heater. The heater has the shape of a truncated cone (hence
the name of the instrument) and is capable of providing heat fluxes to the specimen in the
range of 10-110 kW·m-2. Tests can be conducted in the horizontal and vertical
The cone calorimeter is one of the most
sophisticated tools used at SwRI in determining flammability of materials.
Close-up of burning specimen in the cone calorimeter.
The SwRI Department of Fire Technology is accredited
by the International Accreditation Service, Inc. (IAS), which encompasses the
three major model building code jurisdictions in the United States, as a
qualified testing laboratory and a third-party quality assurance and inspection
agency in accordance with IAS Report Nos.
The Department has been designated a "Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL)"
by OSHA and has been accredited in all major state and local jurisdictions
throughout the U.S., including the city of Los Angeles, Miami-Dade County, and
the city of New York. The Department has been accepted by the U.S. Coast Guard
to provide testing and follow-up programs in support of Type Approval per the
IMO FTP Code. Internationally, the Department is recognized by The Standards
Council of Canada, Lloyd's Register of Shipping, Det Norske Veritas (DNV), and
the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS).
The SwRI Department of Fire Technology is one of the
world's largest organizations devoted to fire research and testing.
For more information about cone calorimeter fire performance evaluation, contact
Eugene Horton, Principal Engineering Technologist, Phone
(210) 522-3457, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Division,
Southwest Research Institute, P.O. Drawer 28510, San Antonio, Texas 78228-0510.
and Chemical Engineering Brochures
SwRI Technical Divisions