Welcome to our four-part blog series about the pass/fail testing requirements for NFPA 2112 compliance. NFPA 2112 is also known as the “flash-fire standard,” and there are four tests which a garment or fabric must pass to receive this accreditation.
- The Manikin Test
- The Vertical Flame Test
- The Heat Transfer Performance Test
- The Thermal Shrinkage Test
Watch Tyndale’s VP of Technical Scott Margolin describe this test series NFPA 2112 Pass-Fail Tests:
To kick things off we are going to start with the most well-known of the tests, the Manikin test.
Let’s start with the manikin. The manikins used for these tests are vastly different than those you might find in your local clothing shop. These manikins are highly sophisticated and outfitted with more than 100 thermocouples which record and measure heat-transfer through the fabric onto the manikin surface. Once exposed to heat, a computer using skin simulation software will calculate the extent, severity, and location of the body burn using information calculated from the thermocouples.
There are two main measurement criteria which are required for a fabric to pass the manikin test.
- Duration of flame exposure, and
- Total 2nd and 3rd degree body burn percentage of less than 50%.
Duration of flame exposure for this test is a flash fire of three seconds. Once the test begins the manikin becomes immersed in continuous flame for three seconds. Why three seconds matters, is that this duration is the defined upper limit of a flash fire. When testing, it is important to expose fabrics to this duration to confirm they will protect the wearer during the longest duration flash-fire.
NFPA 2112 requires that all garments allow no more than 50% total body burn when exposed to a three second flash fire. 50% total body burn is required because survivability rates plummet once you exceed this percentage. By keeping total body burn to less than 50% this maximizes chances of recovering from a flash fire event.
These criteria make this test an excellent way to analyze the relative protective performance of a specific fabric or garment. These results can help workers choose garments that offer the protection they need on the job.
Want to learn more? Brows our blog posts for more helpful information about NFPA 2112 and the answers to other frequently-asked questions. Stay tuned for parts 2–4 which highlight the other tests required for a fabric or garment to be certified as NFPA 2112 compliant.