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A few words and pics about smoke and cable trays:

Scroll down please.

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Firestop Slide Show 1 of 10 Basics

Firestop Slide Show 2 of 10 Code

Firestop Slide Show 3 of 10 No Seal

Firestop Slide Show 4 of 10 Deemed-to-comply

Firestop Slide Show 5 of 10 Misinstalled

Firestop Slide Show 6 of 10 Re-entered

Firestop Slide Show 7 of 10 Faulty Spec.

Firestop Slide Show 8 of 10 Proper Firestops

Firestop Slide Show 9 of 10 Test

Firestop Slide Show 10 of 10 Smoke and Trays

Sample Firestop Listing

Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning; Boiling-Hot Pressure Washing

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Exploratory test sample in BC       Electric Test Furnace - Found unsuitable for Firestop Testing

OK, I admit it, I ran a test in BC. Unfortunately, the Province of BC is home to some esoteric firestop vendors and highly creative testing procedures. But I lived there at the time and had to make do with what was available. Right. So this jury rig sample was a prelude to a ‘real’ test I ran later. I had never tested a single conductor 1000MCM cable before and was worried what it might do on the cold side of my firestop mortar (mine at the time that is).

      

The professional testing service promised that the furnace could easily hit 1000°C and follow the ULC-S115 time/temperature curve.

Bits and pieces at bottom of furnace after test attempt. All eaten by acidic vapours generated from cable jacketing.

As per test procedure, one foot of the penetrating cables reached into the furnace. 2 feet of cable. That’s all there was to burn. The test lasted about 7 hours. There was a bit of blistering on the cables but the test never hit the curve.

After a few minutes, the temperature inside was declining, as opposed to increasing. The engineer stuck a propane torch through a hole, hoping to get back on the curve. After about 7 hours, he gave up. Despite his assurances of being able to hit the curve, what tripped him up was the fact that highly corrosive fumes come off burning plastic cable jacketing. It doesn’t matter whether the jacketing has a flame retardant rating of some sort or not. Once you burn it, what comes off into the air is deadly.

The furnace is run by stainless steel heating coils, which are imbedded about the inner walls, recessed into the fire-bricks. At the end of the test, these stainless coils were found in bits and pieces at the bottom of the furnace. The hydrochloric acid generated by the burning cable jacketing hat eaten all the way through 1/8" stainless steel.

If 2 feet of burning wire eat through stainless steel, imagine a modern building fire, with plastic rugs, or a cable spreading room of MCC room in a plant.

Swedish Gov't Fire Test on Firestops available at the time.

This next test is an early attempt at wrestling with firestopping. It was run in Sweden, in the seventies, by the Swedish government. They built this little brick tower, wound stacks of cable trays back and forth and had assorted firestop vendors come in and firestop all the holes.

Fire started beneath cable trays using kindling.

As you can see, in the shot on the right hand side, blocks of wood kindling were placed inside, underneath one end of the cable trays. The fire quickly spread along the tray, from one tray to the next. And, of course, the whole test made one BIG mess. If this sort of test were run today, our environmental cops would have a field day! But this was the seventies and we learned that day.

Fire was extinguished in Swedish Test - No Shortage of Smoke!

The fire was eventually extinguished.

Twisted, contorted cable trays, which tend to rip out soft firestops (i.e. wool and paint or wool and caulking, or thin boards).

But look at the extinguished aftermath. This demonstrates something else too. Steel cable trays first expand and then soften – just like structural steel. That is why we fireproof structural steel. If left unprotected, structural steel is subject first to expansion, then to softening. Fireproofing keeps this from happening by keeping the steel below approximately 550°C (depending on which country one is in, the range is between 500 and about 560°C). This brings to light an issue rigorously swept under a purposely procured rug: expanding and collapsing trays can shred firestops. This has been proven and the evidence buried in a test run in the eighties by the German government. Some Firestop manufacturers would prefer to discuss matters of personal hygiene, diseases or go whalegutting in the arctic, than to acknowledge this topic. In ULC-S115 testing, 1 foot of the tray protrudes into the furnace. Expansion takes place towards the flame, not the firestop, and there is insufficient mass to have a collapse. Germany puts 1 metre of tray into their DIN 4102 furnace. Have a look at these two test pictures, before and after. The after-shot is taken from the side, after tray collapse.

German DIN 4102 test showing 1 metre tray exposures, and collapse.

These shots here are from a regular firestop mortar system test. They used to be regular anyway. There is no longer enough money in this business to justify large scale testing of this sort.

Be that as it may, in the official German government testing into the effects of heat induced tray motion upon firestops (not shown here), two types of firestops were tested. (1) a soft seal, consisting of rockwool and intumescent paint (This was an old hat in Germany in the seventies but seems all the rage in North America these days) and (2.) a hard seal: firestop mortar. In two consecutive tests, the motion of the trays tore holes into the soft seals but never budged the mortars. Simple solutions? So far: We just ignore it – everywhere.

Real solutions:

When you use Multi Cable Transits (available from Nelson or Lycab), trays must not pass through the openings. That works, but the T ratings are lousy (eliminating them from use in occupancy separations and fire walls in Canada) and you have to be prepared to part with A LOT of money for this solution. (There are other advantages though, which is why more than one Navy has standardised the use of MCTs on board combat ships.) Think about it. The US Navy cares about its sailors and marines. they can't and will not depend on weasel clauses and half measures when it comes to the safety of people on board Navy vessels. That is why they use MCTs. Or, let the tray penetrate the seal but use at least 6" of a tough firestop mortar. These tests and conclusions have been shown repeatedly to the S115 committee (ULC TG21), as well as UL, in the USA. But no-one has the intestinal fortitude to acknowledge the topic. It costs money to address this. Thus it's purposely kept dead.

It’s inescapable. Expand and collapse, that is what steel does in a fire. Otherwise no-one would bother fireproofing structural steel. Meanwhile, because soft seals made of rockwool and paint (or rockwool and caulking of some sort) are cheap, easy to re-enter and turn into hopeless rats-nests if truly re-entered to any extent, many of us will continue to ignore the issue.

FIRESTOP SLIDE SHOW PAGE 10 OF 10

NEXT

(firestop main page)

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FIRESTOP PAGE

MAIN PAGE

GLOSSARY

COMMENTS

END OF FIRESTOP SLIDE SHOW

Main Site

Firestop Site

Code Evaluations AVAILABLE!

Glossary of Fire Protection Terms

3M Fire Barriers

Vectorising Drawings and Maps; Paper to CAD

Circuit Integrity Fireproofing

Bounding

Code Req's for Firestops

Essay on Performance Based Codes

Master Spec. Section 07840 Firestopping

Related Sections to 07840

Penetration Seal Drawings

Building Joint Drawings 1

Building Joint Drawings 2

Building Joint Drawings 3

History of Firestops in North America

Warnock Hersey Experience

Firestop Trade Jurisdiction

Achim Hering Bio

Man Made Mineral Fibres

Fire Protection Industry Links

Firestop Products and Equipment

Firestop Mortar

Firestop Silicone Foam

Intumescent Products

Endothermic Products

Insulation Products

Caulking & Paint Firestops

Firestop Pillows

Firestop Devices

Firestop Slide Show 1 of 10 Basics

Firestop Slide Show 2 of 10 Code

Firestop Slide Show 3 of 10 No Seal

Firestop Slide Show 4 of 10 Deemed-to-comply

Firestop Slide Show 5 of 10 Misinstalled

Firestop Slide Show 6 of 10 Re-entered

Firestop Slide Show 7 of 10 Faulty Spec.

Firestop Slide Show 8 of 10 Proper Firestops

Firestop Slide Show 9 of 10 Test

Firestop Slide Show 10 of 10 Smoke and Trays

Sample Firestop Listing

Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning; Boiling-Hot Pressure Washing

ULC           UL

T O S

(Theory of Survival)

DIBt

TU Braunschweig iBMB

CONTACT

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