FAR 23.853:
Appendix F to Part 23 — Test Procedure

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Supplement to Greg Amy's article "Interiors, Legalities, and Part 91 Aircraft."

Appendix F to Part 23: Test Procedure

Acceptable test procedure for self-extinguishing materials for showing compliance with Secs. 23.853, 23.855 and 23.1359.

(a) Conditioning. Specimens must be conditioned to 70 degrees F, plus or minus 5 degrees, and at 50 percent plus or minus 5 percent relative humidity until moisture equilibrium is reached or for 24 hours. Only one specimen at a time may be removed from the conditioning environment immediately before subjecting it to the flame.

(b) Specimen configuration. Except as provided for materials used in electrical wire and cable insulation and in small parts, materials must be tested either as a section cut from a fabricated part as installed in the airplane or as a specimen simulating a cut section, such as: a specimen cut from a flat sheet of the material or a model of the fabricated part. The specimen may be cut from any location in a fabricated part; however, fabricated units, such as sandwich panels, may not be separated for a test. The specimen thickness must be no thicker than the minimum thickness to be qualified for use in the airplane, except that:

(1) Thick foam parts, such as seat cushions, must be tested in 1/2 inch thickness;

(2) when showing compliance with Sec. 23.853(d)(3)(v) for materials used in small parts that must be tested, the materials must be tested in no more than 1/8 inch thickness;

(3) when showing compliance with Sec. 23.1359(c) for materials used in electrical wire and cable insulation, the wire and cable specimens must be the same size as used in the airplane. In the case of fabrics, both the warp and fill direction of the weave must be tested to determine the most critical flammability conditions. When performing the tests prescribed in paragraphs (d) and (e) of this appendix, the specimen must be mounted in a metal frame so that (1) in the vertical tests of paragraph (d) of this appendix, the two long edges and the upper edge are held securely; (2) in the horizontal test of paragraph (e) of this appendix, the two long edges and the edge away from the flame are held securely; (3) the exposed area of the specimen is at least 2 inches wide and 12 inches long, unless the actual size used in the airplane is smaller; and (4) the edge to which the burner flame is applied must not consist of the finished or protected edge of the specimen but must be representative of the actual cross section of the material or part installed in the airplane. When performing the test prescribed in paragraph (f) of this appendix, the specimen must be mounted in metal frame so that all four edges are held securely and the exposed area of the specimen is at least 8 inches by 8 inches.

(c) Apparatus. Except as provided in paragraph (g) of this Appendix, tests must be conducted in a draft-free cabinet in accordance with Federal Test Method Standard 191 Method 5903 (revised Method 5902) which is available from the General Services Administration, Business Service Center, Region 3, Seventh and D Streets SW., Washington, D.C. 20407, or with some other approved equivalent method. Specimens which are too large for the cabinet must be tested in similar draft-free conditions.

(d) Vertical test. A minimum of three specimens must be tested and the results averaged. For fabrics, the direction of weave corresponding to the most critical flammability conditions must be parallel to the longest dimension. Each specimen must be supported vertically. The specimen must be exposed to a Bunsen or Tirrill burner with a nominal 3/8 -inch I.D. tube adjusted to give a flame of 1 1/2 inches in height. The minimum flame temperature measured by a calibrated thermocouple pryometer in the center of the flame must be 1550 deg. F. The lower edge of the specimen must be three- fourths inch above the top edge of the burner. The flame must be applied to the center line of the lower edge of the specimen. For materials covered by Secs. 23.853(d)(3)(i) and 23.853(f), the flame must be applied for 60 seconds and then removed. For materials covered by Sec. 23.853(d)(3)(ii), the flame must be applied for 12 seconds and then removed. Flame time, burn length, and flaming time of drippings, if any, must be recorded. The burn length determined in accordance with paragraph (h) of this Appendix must be measured to the nearest one-tenth inch.

(e) Horizontal test. A minimum of three specimens must be tested and the results averaged. Each specimen must be supported horizontally. The exposed surface when installed in the airplane must be face down for the test. The specimen must be exposed to a Bunsen burner or Tirrill burner with a nominal 3/8 -inch I.D. tube adjusted to give a flame of 1 1/2 inches in height. The minimum flame temperature measured by a calibrated thermocouple pyrometer in the center of the flame must be 1550 deg. F. The specimen must be positioned so that the edge being tested is three-fourths of an inch above the top of, and on the center line of, the burner. The flame must be applied for 15 seconds and then removed. A minimum of 10 inches of the specimen must be used for timing purposes, approximately 1 1/2 inches must burn before the burning front reaches the timing zone, and the average burn rate must be recorded.

(f) Forty-five degree test. A minimum of three specimens must be tested and the results averaged. The specimens must be supported at an angle of 45 degrees to a horizontal surface. The exposed surface when installed in the aircraft must be face down for the test. The specimens must be exposed to a Bunsen or Tirrill burner with a nominal 3/8 inch I.D. tube adjusted to give a flame of 1 1/2 inches in height. The minimum flame temperature measured by a calibrated thermocouple pyrometer in the center of the flame must be 1550 deg.F. Suitable precautions must be taken to avoid drafts. The flame must be applied for 30 seconds with one-third contacting the material at the center of the specimen and then removed. Flame time, glow time, and whether the flame penetrates (passes through) the specimen must be recorded.

(g) Sixty-degree test. A minimum of three specimens of each wire specification (make and size) must be tested. The specimen of wire or cable (including insulation) must be placed at an angle of 60 degrees with the horizontal in the cabinet specified in paragraph (c) of this appendix, with the cabinet door open during the test or placed within a chamber approximately 2 feet high x 1 foot x 1 foot, open at the top and at one vertical side (front), that allows sufficient flow of air for complete combustion but is free from drafts. The specimen must be parallel to and approximately 6 inches from the front of the chamber. The lower end of the specimen must be held rigidly clamped. The upper end of the specimen must pass over a pulley or rod and must have an appropriate weight attached to it so that the specimen is held tautly throughout the flammability test. The test specimen span between lower clamp and upper pulley or rod must be 24 inches and must be marked 8 inches from the lower end to indicate the central point for flame application. A flame from a Bunsen or Tirrill burner must be applied for 30 seconds at the test mark. The burner must be mounted underneath the test mark on the specimen, perpendicular to the specimen and at an angle of 30 degrees to the vertical plane of the specimen. The burner must have a nominal bore of three-eighths inch, and must be adjusted to provide a three-inch-high flame with an inner cone approximately one-third of the flame height. The minimum temperature of the hottest portion of the flame, as measured with a calibrated thermocouple pyrometer, may not be less than 1,750 deg.F. The burner must be positioned so that the hottest portion of the flame is applied to the test mark on the wire. Flame time, burn length, and flaming time drippings, if any, must be recorded. The burn length determined in accordance with paragraph (h) of this appendix must be measured to the nearest one-tenth inch. Breaking of the wire specimen is not considered a failure.

(h) Burn length. Burn length is the distance from the original edge to the farthest evidence of damage to the test specimen due to flame impingement, including areas of partial or complete consumption, charring, or embrittlement, but not including areas sooted, stained, warped, or discolored, nor areas where material has shrunk or melted away from the heat source.

[Amdt. 23-23, 43 FR 50594, Oct. 30, 1978, as amended by Amdt. 23-34, 52 FR 1835, Jan. 15, 1987; 52 FR 34745, Sept. 14, 1987; Amdt. 23-49, 61 FR 5170, Feb. 9, 1996]