Fire Resistance Rating (FRR)

What are Fire Resistance Tests?

Fire resistance test setup
Fire resistance tests refer to testing of systems designed to contain or resist fire over a specified period of time. They are very different to reaction to fire tests but are sometimes confused. Fire resistance classifications are often expressed as a period of time such as ‘1 hour fire resistance’ or three numbers such as 60/60/60. It is important to understand what each classification means.When it comes to fire resistance, which is usually expressed in the form xx/yy/zz, the key elements to consider are structural adequacy (xx), integrity (yy), and insulation (zz).

For external wall systems, fire resistance criteria depends largely on application and proximity to the building boundary, and proximity to other buildings. These are an integral part of the NZBC. In general more demanding applications and closer proximity to boundaries or other buildings requires higher levels of fire resistance.

About Fire Resistance Testing

When it comes to fire resistance, the most common elements to consider for insulated panels are structural adequacy, integrity and insulation. Structural adequacy is dependent on the fire performance of the element that is supporting the panel.

  • ‘Integrity’ is the length of time that the insulated panel system retains its integrity against flames or hot gases in a standard fire. For example, if flames were to break through the system after 60 minutes, the insulated panel system would achieve -/60/- minutes integrity.
  • ‘Insulation’ is the time it takes to produce an average increase in temperature of 140°C (250°F in ASTM E119) above the initial temperature or an increase in temperature at one point of 180°C  above the initial temperature on the unexposed (cold) side of the insulated panel system. This rise in temperature is measured with multiple thermocouples. Each thermocouple is monitored carefully during the fire resistance test.
  • ‘Structure’ refers to the structural ability of a post or girt to resist fire attack.

When it comes to fire resistance the most common elements to consider are structure, integrity, and insulation.

Which tests are applicable to Fire Resistance?

A suite of tests are applicable to fire resistance including AS1530.4 and NZS BS 476-22.

The picture below illustrates the test rig for fire resistance. Typically speaking the test rig will be 3m wide by 3m tall. Behind the unexposed surface of the insulated panel is a large furnace, which presents a large fire source to the exposed surface of the insulated panel system. Thermocouples are attached to the unexposed surface face, measuring temperature.

When utilising insulated panels to provide a Fire Resistance Rating, designers should take into consideration the tested 3m span. For larger spans, a fire engineer should be consulted.

Fire walls within 1m of the boundary are two-way, greater than 1m are inside to out.

Not all Insulation is the Same

Not all Insulation is the Same

Insurer-approved Kingspan FIREsafe™ insulated panel systems undergo rigorous testing for fire reaction and fire resistance. Download our latest brochure here.

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