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Fire Testing
by Sheldon Levine


The survival of equipment in fire environments is a critical factor
affecting the safety and survivability of the equipment as well as
personnel. To measure equipment survivability, fire testing is
performed in a controlled laboratory environment. The tests are
designed to measure the flammability characteristics of components when
subjected to a controlled external flame such as by gas jet nozzles.

Material flammability is defined as how easily equipment will burn or
ignite.

An interesting example of fire testing is the flammability test of
fire-resistant hydraulic hoses. In this test a hydraulic hose is
subject to flame impingement by a series of gas jets. During the test,
water is circulated under pressure through the hose. A loss of pressure
denotes failure of the hose. Charring of the hose exterior is
acceptable providing the hose maintains hydraulic pressure. A
hydrostatic pressure check is performed after the flame test to verify
the hose integrity.

Equipment can be assigned fire-resistant ratings dependent typically
upon the time and temperature conditions of the test. However, other
criteria such as evidence of fitness for its purpose may be applied.




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