What is the Smoke Seal Test?

Introduction

In the world of construction, access panels serve as crucial entry points to hidden services requiring routine maintenance. While fire testing is a standard requirement for many builds, there’s another critical consideration often overlooked: smoke leakage. The smoke seal test, also known as the smoke leakage test, evaluates a panel’s ability to prevent the passage of smoke during a fire, making it an essential component of comprehensive safety measures.

Why is a smoke leakage test necessary?

Access panels not only need to withstand fire but also prevent the spread of smoke. This is where the smoke leakage test becomes indispensable. Panels equipped with both fire and smoke seal ratings feature intumescent seals that expand when exposed to high temperatures, effectively sealing off compartments and preventing smoke from permeating through.

Furthermore, evidence of passing a smoke leakage test is essential for obtaining certifications, particularly to achieve Sa or S200 classification in compliance with EN 13501-2 standards.

How is this test conducted?

The smoke test is carried out using a specialised smoke leakage chamber designed to simulate ambient temperatures. Within this chamber, the sample panel is installed, and fans are utilised to regulate pressure. Equipped with pressure transducers, flow metres, and digital displays, the chamber records pressure and leakage rates throughout the test.

Leakage along the perimeter length of the opening element determines the test results. By reversing the polarity of the chamber control fan, both positive and negative pressures at ambient temperature can be evaluated. Leakage readings are taken at various pressures, depending on the test standard, to ensure comprehensive assessment.

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