How It’s Tested: Episode 9 – ASTM F1930, The Flash Fire Manikin Test

In any environment where you’re at risk of being exposed to a flash fire, you must always stay alert. Keeping aware of your environment, and knowing the flash fire protection standards can save your life in the event of a flash fire.

If you work alongside the risk of a flash fire, chances are you’ve heard of “The Manikin Test.” After all, it’s the most well-known of the tests in NFPA 2112 for flash fire protection. But do you know how it’s conducted, what it tells us, or why it’s so important?

Let’s join Scott Margolin, Tyndale’s Vice President of Technical, as he explains ASTM F1930, better known as the Flash Fire Manikin Test.

 

Let’s breakdown how this test is conducted:

  • A manikin outfitted with thermal sensors wearing a full coverall is exposed to a flash fire for three (3) seconds.
  • This manikin sensors measure body-burn, modeling, the extent, severity, and exact location of 2nd  and 3rd-degree burns.

To pass this test, the manikin must record less than 50% 2nd and 3rd-degree body burn overall.

You may be wondering:

  • Why does the test use three seconds? 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 protect the wearer during the longest-duration flash fire.
  • Why 50%? Survivability rates plummet once you exceed this body burn percentage, so this threshold maximizes chances of recovering from a flash fire exposure. That said, read our post to understand how to transcend mere compliance and achieve effective protection.
  • Is 0% the best possible score? No, it’s impossible to achieve 0% body burn in the manikin test because the coverall specified in the testing doesn’t cover the face and neck. Accordingly, a body burn result of 7-8% means no burn through the coverall, and is typically considered the best performance level achievable on the test. Similarly, hands and feet aren’t covered as part of the test, but these parts of the manikin do not feature sensors so body burn in these areas is not measured or factored into the overall body burn percentage calculated.

ASTM F1930 is useful when evaluating various fabric types and fabric weights. Also, since this test uses a full coverall, we’re able to assess the complete coverall design, including:

  • Effects on a loose vs. tight-fitting coverall
  • Placement of pockets
  • Number of pockets
  • Closures – buttons, zippers, etc.
  • Many other safety factors

As we have seen, the ASTM F1930 test is critical to understanding the protection a garment provides in a worst-case scenario flash fire. The manikin records key metrics which help us assess the fabrics and construction of coveralls, designed to keep you safe and save your life in the event of flash fire exposure.

NFPA 2112 is available for complimentary viewing online or can be purchased for download at: http://www.nfpa.org/aboutthecodes/AboutTheCodes.asp?DocNum=2112  

There are several other tests in NFPA 2112 for flash fire protection that you should know. We will explore a new test each week, so please check back to learn more. Did you miss some of our How it’s Tested series, or want to know more about testing for AR / FR hazards?  Visit our How It’s Tested hub to see the complete series of tests we’ve covered.

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