Flammable: Wikis


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DIN4102 Flammability Class B1 Vertical Shaft Furnace at Technische Universität Braunschweig, iBMB, Germany.
Sample Holder for DIN4102 Flammability Class B1 Vertical Shaft Furnace
750°C Furnace to test A1 and A2 Class Combustibility as per DIN4102 Part 1 at TU Braunschweig
Flammable liquid warning sign

Flammability is defined at how easily something will burn or ignite, causing fire or combustion. The degree of difficulty required to cause the combustion of a substance is subject to quantification through fire testing. Internationally, a variety of test protocols exist to quantify flammability. The ratings achieved are used in building codes, insurance requirements, fire codes and other regulations governing the use of building materials as well as the storage and handling of highly flammable substances inside and outside of structures and in surface and air transportation. For instance, changing an occupancy by altering the flammability of the contents requires the owner of a building to apply for a building permit to make sure that the overall fire protection design basis of the facility can take the change into account.



A fire test can be conducted to determine the degree of flammability. Test standards used to make this determination but are not limited to the following:

Categorization of building materials

Materials can be tested for the degree of flammability and combustibility in accordance with DIN 4102. DIN 4102, as well as its British cousin BS476 include for testing of passive fire protection systems, as well as some if its constituent materials. The following are the categories in order of degree of combustibility as well as flammability:

  • A1 (100% noncombustible = nichtbrennbar)
  • A2 (~98% noncombustible = nichtbrennbar)
  • B1 difficult to ignite (schwer entflammbar) Example: intumescents and some high end silicones
  • B2 normal combustibility (like wood)
  • B3 easily ignited (leichtentflammbar)

Important characteristics

Flash point

Flash points below 100 °F (38 °C) are regulated in the United States by OSHA as potential workplace hazards.

Vapor pressure

  • The vapor pressure is an important parameter in determining the ease of ignition. The higher the vapor pressure, the more flammable vapor is evolved from a free liquid surface at a given temperature.

Examples of flammable liquids

Flammable liquids include, but are not limited to:

Examples of nonflammable liquids



For existing buildings, fire codes focus on maintaining the occupancies as originally intended. In other words, if a portion of a building were designed as an apartment, one could not suddenly load it with flammable liquids and turn it into a gas storage facility, because the fire load and smoke development in that one apartment would be so immense as to overtax the active fire protection as well as the passive fire protection means for the building. The handling and use of flammable substances inside a building is subject to the local fire code, which is ordinarily enforced by the local fire prevention officer.

Linguistics: Flammable vs. inflammable

The word “inflammable” came from Latin “'inflammāre” = “to set fire to,” where the prefix “'in-”' means “in” as in “inside”, rather than “not” as in “invisible” and “ineligible”. Nonetheless, “inflammable” is often erroneously thought to mean “non-flammable”. To avoid this safety hazard, “flammable”, despite not being the proper Latin-derived term, is now commonly used on warning labels when referring to physical combustibility.[1]

See also


  1. ^ http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/inflammable.html

External links

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