With this legislation, tests with fume at medium temperature at 200 °C (Sm) and cold fume (Sa) can be carried out. The leakage is evaluated in cubic metres per hour per metre of joint length, except for the lower one. It is an accessory requirement for many markets such as Italy, England, Germany and the Arab Emirates.
Smoke tightness is part of the performance in the product standard for fire and smoke doors EN 16034.
At Chemolli Fire we have carried out numerous smoke seal tests.
A TRULY USEFUL SAFEGUARD
We would like to emphasise that what saves most lives in fires, apart from prevention and training, is the correct and precise escape planning and safety management. It is well known that active and passive protection help to give people time to escape and rescue services more time to intervene, but anyone who has done fire tests also knows that a door subjected to a fire test will smoke and that in fires more people die from smoke than from burning alive, so there should be more smoke doors than fire doors, but in reality, as things stand, it is exactly the opposite.
ALSO INTRODUCED IN ITALY WITH THE CODE
Recently, the Italian legislator has also introduced smoke-tightness of windows and doors, with E 30 Sa smoke filter elements, and more and more will be required. In the fire prevention code it is stated in paragraph S.3 (compartmentalisation) that “The solutions conforming to performance level II by using smoke-tight (Sa) elements for the closure of compartmentalisation openings between compartments (S.3.2) are applied, i.e., it is left to the designer to choose level III following a risk assessment, which states that “all closures of openings between compartments and escape routes of the same activity should be at least smoke-tight for hot (E) and cold (Sa) fumes. (S.3.3)”
Also in the code, in strategy S.4, escape, Article S.4.7 defines that “Vertical escape routes should be protected by compartments with fire resistance determined in accordance with Chapter S.2 and in any case not less than class 30 with communication passage closures of at least E 30-Sa.” This is the case even if Level II of the S.3 subdivision strategy is applied. In addition, among the additional requirements, it is specified that for Rvita Cii1, Cii2, Ciii1, Ciii2, “all rooms where occupants may sleep are compartmentalised with class determined according to chapter S.2, however not less than 30 and with closures of communication compartments E 30-Sa“.
With this, E-Sa doors are always required in protected staircases.
In fire modelling, the key parameter is RSET, i.e. the time required for the occupants to escape.
Smoke-tight doors ‘give’ precious seconds to the exodus, so that it can take place in a more orderly manner while also protecting the weaker occupants.
The test must be carried out on the standardised support, or on the associated support if the door is to be installed on the latter in practice. By testing on the flexible support, you have the extension to the rigid support but not vice versa.
You start by making the bracket and installing the door as in practice on the test frame. Depending on how the test is structured, it may be that the test object is placed on a moveable frame (with an overhead crane) or directly on the test machine.
The laboratory provides to seal the joints of the door to be tested typically with aluminium tape. The test machinery is pressurised to 10 and 25 Pascal and the system leakage data is measured at room temperature.
MEDIUM TEMPERATURE TEST, 200 DEGREES
The hot tests are then carried out on that side. At this point the sealing of the threshold is removed and the cold test cycle is redone at 10, 25 Pa, and also at 50 Pa, to verify the tightness of the lower area of the door. This is because in the hot part, the threshold is tested.
Thus detecting a leakage above or close to the limits at cold, may lead to the assumption that the hot test will give lower leak values. The new limit, however, is 20 cubic meters/hour of loss for the doors to one door and 30 cubic meters/hour of loss for the doors to two doors, not related to the length of the joints.
By heating the chamber to 200 C for 25 minutes, in addition to the heating time, deformation of the doors or supports, reduction of the length of the rubber seals and, in rare cases, minor alterations of the thermal expanding seals can be triggered.
WHAT YOU THINK HAPPENS, WHAT REALLY HAPPENS
It is a common opinion – for example, gathered at training courses of designers – that for the smoke tests the thermoexpanding gaskets are decisive. In our experience this is absolutely not true.
The discriminating factor in these tests is the sealing of the stop seals in relation to the deformations of the door, and the sealing of the lower seal. Normally, expansion heaters don’t trigger in time.
The doors tend, as in the fire test, to move away from the edges of the frame. The wooden doors tend to shorten from the exposed side, those in iron to lengthen. In both cases the high and low ends on the lock side are the most critical.
In the hot test the loss limit is no longer measured as in the cold test, but there is a general limit of 20 cubic metres per hour for one-leaf doors and 30 cubic metres per hour for two-leaf doors, always net of the system loss. When the test is completed, the sample shall be rotated on the one hand as permitted by the test.
Once tests are completed, the door could be classified, if all goes well, Sa and Sm (or S200).
THE CONTRIBUTION OF CHEMOLLI FIRE
When it comes to testing, we provide our experience and our KNOW-HOW.
As specialists, we offer comprehensive advice during all stages of laboratory testing, from design to documentation of results.
Listening is the most important phase of our interaction: we want you to develop a product that is the sum of your identity and needs.
First, we try to understand your real needs, the channels and markets you want to measure yourself against.
Then we show you how the testing and certification process takes place: we need to engage with you, to fully grasp your point of view. Then we develop a proposal that respects – compatibly with the required performance – your product lines, your production lines and, as far as possible, potential economies of scale using products and methodologies already established in your company.
Beyond the opportunities, which we will illustrate to you, we will then advise you on what we would do in your position.
We will advise you with our experience on what, how and where to test. In which laboratory to test? In the one best suited to your needs.
Once the key has been turned, we prepare a project that is comprehensive in all details. Which materials and components to use, an important part of our dialogue on which we can best advise you. In addition to this, a cost sheet and a weight forecast, to allow you to check whether your goals will be achieved. Using industry best practices, we are convinced of this.
ATYPICAL CONSULTANTS: WE TAKE OVER THE TESTING ACTIVITY
A consultants we give advices, then we leave it to the client to put it into practice. We are not like that: we take off the tie and put on our work clothes when needed. We launch the production of the samples, we are present during the gluing of the doors, we offer support during the process and shoeing, we proceed with our technicians to the installation of the samples in the laboratory and we are physically present at the testing. We manage the post-test documentation review phase, explain the documentation to you and remain available for all issues related to results management.
In addition, we offer you comprehensive consultancy during all stages of certification, assisting you:
- in the planning and budgeting of activities, to determine an investment plan;
- During all the communication with the notified body;
- during sampling (withdrawing products for testing);
- in implementing your FPC – Factory Production Control;
- In preparing the necessary documentation including instructions and labels;
- with our presence during initial inspections;
- afterwards, as support for all management issues.