APPROVAL GUIDANCE & INFORMATION:
SOLAS requires noncombustible materials to be tested in accordance with the FTP Code to ensure that they do not burn or give off flammable vapors in sufficient quantity for self-ignition when heated to approximately 750ºC. The IMO FTP Code requires noncombustible materials to be tested in accordance with ISO 1182-1990 using the acceptance criteria listed in Annex 1, Part 1 of the FTP Code. These requirements are the same as IMO Res. A.799(18), which was adopted after publication of the FTP Code. The use of noncombustible materials is a basic functional requirement of SOLAS for most material approvals. Non-combustible materials may be used anywhere in vessel construction without limitation.
The non-combustibility test is a severe heat exposure where five small samples of the material are inserted into a tubular electric furnace maintained at 750ºC. Materials approved under this category to date are solid inorganic materials containing only small amounts of organic binder. The samples must be selected at different locations in a production run to ensure that they are representative of the typical product.
To be considered non-combustible, the average performance of the samples must not exceed any of the criteria shown below:
* a furnace temperature rise of 30 degrees C;
* a sample surface temperature rise of 30 degrees C;
* a duration of flaming of 10 seconds
* a weight loss of 50 percent.
The temperature rise criteria are determined as the difference between the maximum temperature and the final temperature. This differs from the procedure in 46 CFR 164.009 where the temperature rise is the difference between the initial stabilization temperature and the maximum temperature.
Some specific materials such as steel or glass is known to be inherently noncombustible based on their composition, and may be used in merchant vessel construction wherever noncombustible materials are required. These materials do not need to be tested and do not receive certificates of approval. A list of these materials is contained in Annex 2 of the FTP Code. For a product to be accepted as a noncombustible material without testing, the manufacturer must certify that the product consists of only the materials listed in Annex 2. All other materials must be tested.
Non-combustible C-Class Ceilings and Bulkheads
The Coast Guard is now issuing type approvals for composite panel construction intended for use as C-Class divisions, based on a recent decision of the IMO Fire Protection Sub-Committee to allow the use of adhesives with low flame spread characteristics as a component of C-Class construction.
These type panels are generally aluminum honeycomb construction. Manufacturers have two options for a C-Class type approval. Representative samples of the panel may be cut and tested in accordance with Annex 1, Part 1 for non-combustibility. The alternative approach is to use only inherently noncombustible aluminum or steel components that are held together with an adhesive that has been tested under Annex 1, Part 5 for surface flammability. The Follow Up Testing examines the adhesive application rate of the panel.
Acoustic and Thermal Insulation
SOLAS contains no performance requirements for acoustic and thermal insulation. However, all insulation materials must be non-combustible as detailed in SOLAS regulation II-2/5.3. Combustible insulation is permitted in limited applications for cold service piping if it is tested for surface flammability. This is further discussed under approval category 164.143.
The Coast Guard does not test materials or systems for approval but rather specifies the required test methods and minimum performance criteria for approval. The testing must be performed on the product by a Coast Guard Accepted Independent Laboratory.
This item can be approved under the US/EC MUTUAL RECOGNITION AGREEMENT (MRA)
Please submit the follow information in the Submittal Package:
- A cover letter requesting Coast Guard Type Approval of the equipment.
- A test report from the Accepted Independent Laboratory showing compliance with the above standard.
- Evidence that an acceptable follow-up factory inspection program with the Accepted Independent Laboratory is in place
- Required plans and a copy of the installation instructions