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1.1 Scope. 1.1.1* This standard shall prescribe the methodology to measure flame travel distance and optical density of smoke for insulated, jacketed, or both, electrical wires and cables and optical fiber cables that are to be installed in plenums and other spaces used to transport environmental air without being enclosed in raceways. A.1.1.1 This standard is referenced in NFPA 90A, Standard for the Installation of Air-Conditioning and Ventilating Systems, as a test method that electrical wires and cables and optical fiber cables are required to comply with for use in plenums. The pass/fail requirements are a maximum peak optical density of 0.50 or less, an average optical density of 0.15 or less, and a maximum flame spread distance of 1.5 m (5 ft) or less. The National Electrical Code, NFPA 70, contains informational notes that reference this standard, with the same pass/fail requirements, as the test method used to list cables for use in plenums, in articles 725 (Class 1, Class 2, and Class 3 Remote-Control, Signaling, and Power-Limited Circuits), 760 (Fire Alarm Systems), 770 (Optical Fiber Cables and Raceways), 800 (Communications Circuits), 820 (Community Antenna Television and Radio Distribution Systems) and 830 (Network-Powered Broadband Communications Systems). In NFPA 70, a cable complying with the above requirements is said to be “low-smoke-producing cable and fire-resistant cable” by “having adequate fire-resistant and low-smoke-producing characteristics.” It should be noted that the fire resistance described in NFPA 70 does not address the same issues that are addressed when testing by use of a temperature–time curve, such as described in ASTM E 119, Standard Test Methods for Fire Tests of Building Construction and Materials. Procedures for testing fire-resistive cables are described in ANSI/UL 2196, Standard for Tests of Fire Resistive Cables. 1.1.2 This test method shall not provide information on the fire performance of insulating materials contained in electrical or optical cables in fire conditions other than the ones specifically used in Section 6.6 of this standard, nor shall it measure the contribution of the cables to a developing fire condition. 1.1.3* Although this test uses equipment similar to that used in ASTM E 84, Standard Test Method for Surface Burning Characteristics of Building Materials, or in ANSI/UL 723, Test for Surface Burning Characteristics of Building Materials, sufficient changes have been made to the chamber so that a test conducted in the apparatus used for ASTM E 84 or ANSI/UL 723 shall not be considered identical or productive of comparable results. A.1.1.3 The changes made in equipment for this test were deemed necessary in order to obtain proper precision from the test when the equipment is used for small quantities of wire and cable, which produce much smaller quantities of heat release and smoke obscuration. 1.1.4 Because this standard does not purport to address all of the safety problems associated with its use, it shall be the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and to determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.
This standard improves fire safety in air-handling spaces by presenting a test procedure to evaluate the potential for smoke and fire spread along cables and wires housed in a plenum or other air transport spaces.
The test method measures and records both flame travel distance and optical density of smoke for insulated, jacketed, or both, electrical wires and cables and optical fiber cables that are to be installed in plenums and other spaces used to transport environmental air without being enclosed in raceways.
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© National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 2016