FAA-approved burn test facility

Service Detail from General Plastics Manufacturing Co.

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General Plastics’ testing services span the full range of quality assurance. We work with customers from determination of test methods to final test certification. Services include physical property, developmental testing, and flammability testing, including the seat cushion oil burner test. General Plastics is one of only 9 in the nation who performs this test, which is performed in our FAA-approved burn test facility.

When it comes to tests related to qualification of product, time is always of the essence. Customers often require fast results and confirmation in order to move on to the next phase of their design or to get their product to market. Here we highlight two customers with two very different test requirements, resulting in the same outcome – accurate and fast results.

Flammability testing of seat cushions for new aircraft interior designs
A major aircraft interiors supplier headquartered in Tokyo, Japan designs, manufactures, and supplies major OEMS, Tier 1, and Tier 2 companies. Among their products are seat cushions for aircraft interiors.

Having worked together on testing requirements in the past, this company was no stranger to our services and quality assurance system. “They needed a qualification test for their product so they had cushions shipped from Japan for us to test,” said Quality Solutions Director Tod Maurmann.

While the initial conversation began in October 2016, materials were not available for testing until April 2017. According to Maurmann, the company was still developing their final design but already knew they wanted General Plastics to do the testing. “Even though they were still trying to figure out the full design requirements of the program, everyone involved on our team and theirs stayed in close communication about the status so when it did come together, we reacted quickly,” said Maurmann.

Their Requirements:

  • Pass FAR 25.853 App.F, Part II regulations
  • Testing facilities local to their U.S. division
  • Flexibility on test date
  • Accommodate the amount of testing with short notice
  • Comprehensive test report & certification

As soon as materials were received, they were placed into the conditioning chamber in preparation for the seat oil burner test. Testing began within minutes following the 24 hr. conditioning.  Multiple sets of specimens and configurations were subjected to the 1,800+°F oil burner flames for two minute durations.

The end result: Pass. “When it comes to new designs, you may have an idea how it will perform based on the materials you’re using, but the proof and confidence is in the actual test,” said Maurmann.

Creating thermal test simulations with LAST-A-FOAM® material
Another company based in the United Kingdom, also familiar with our testing services and capabilities, provides radiological protection services, nuclear engineering, and project management services.

They needed to find foam that would satisfy various strength and flammability properties for their nuclear materials transportation container application. Their initial choice of materials included General Plastics’ LAST-A-FOAM® FR-3700 foam, engineered with crash and fire protection properties for nuclear waste containers.

In support of the customer’s design development with our foam, the General Plastics team worked with them to develop test protocols that would measure their required characteristics: crash protection of the material under high and low strain rates and the foam’s thermal properties in both crushed and uncrushed conditions.

“The target numbers weren’t specific,” said Maurmann. “They really just wanted to test the foams to see what the numbers would be like and then see how that fit into their design criteria.”

To measure temperature and heat migration through the material over time, we conducted a 30 minute flammability test with a cooldown period of approximately 8 hours, while tracking temperature profiles throughout the foam. Test specimens were placed inside a box with an opening on one side, and exposed to a 1,550°F oil burner flame for 30 minutes. With this, we were able to simulate what the customer expected their product to potentially be exposed to in the case of a container damaged in a crash and exposed to a fire.

In a crash and fire scenario, the customer wanted to understand the effects of impact and compression on the foam’s flammability properties. To achieve this, General Plastics performed several static and dynamic compressive strength tests on the material prior to submitting the specimens to the 30 minute oil burner test.

“Aside from the excellent intumescing properties that we traditionally see with the foam, we also found that some plastic memory was retained by the crushed foam.  So in addition to expanding intumescence, we experienced re-expanding foam as it was exposed to the flames,” said Maurmann.

The final burned foam specimen had a larger post-test dimension than pre-test.  The dual expansion of both the foam and the intumescence could prove to be beneficial in incidents of damaged nuclear containers exposed to fire, thereby protecting the hazardous payload.

In addition, multi-directional bond joints were tested for compressive and tensile strength at various extreme temperatures. As an end result, General Plastics was able to help the customer find the ideal material that met their design specifications and validated test models.

Continuing quality assurance
General Plastics’ testing services is built on 75 years of rigorous quality assurance and fast turnaround. We can accommodate one-time testing or long term developmental testing. Our commitment to quality assurance and our fully-equipped facilities provide our customers with cost-effective testing and comprehensive results to help them complete their project.

For more information, visit us at https://www.generalplastics.com/general-plastics-testing-services

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