Combusion; fire; flame; 2L refrigerant
An improved test method for refrigerant flammability limit measurements is presented. Such measurements are essential for determining the lower flammability limits of refrigerants, and thus their safety classifications. Predicated on expert interviews and experiments, several changes to ASTM E681 and related standards are recommended, as follows. The 12 L glass vessel should be replaced with transparent polycarbonate (or other transparent plastic) to eliminate etching by HF and to facilitate vessel penetrations. The orientation of the electrode supports and the temperature probe should be changed from vertical to horizontal to prevent flame quenching. Venting should not occur before the flame stops propagating near the vessel wall. All penetrations should be removed from the rubber stopper, it should be weighted for a total mass of 2.5 kg, and the initial pressure should be 90 kPa absolute. The flame angle should be plotted versus refrigerant concentration, whereby a least-squares line determines the flammability limit at a flame angle of 90°. Finally, the vessel pressure should be measured during each test to evaluate the pressure rise during flame propagation and to help identify the onset of venting. These changes are relatively easy to implement and they improve the test precision and reproducibility without significantly changing previously established flammability limits.