Fire Ratings Explained

The designated critical temperature for BS476 Pt22/EN 1364/DIN 4102-2 'rating' of a construction element (wall/ceiling/door) is 180°C. Hence if an element is 30, 60, 90 or 120 minute rated, it has kept the protected side within 180°C during testing in a furnace heated to the BS476 Pt22/EN1364 set temperature curve (furnace side rises to around 1000 degrees over the test period). 180°C is the temperature at which paper ignites and thus, if stored against the wall on the non fire side, could begin a fire in the next compartment. Hence this is designed for fire integrity (spread of fire) and insulation in relation to escape of people in the event of a fire.

Computing environments should be regarded differently. The critical temperature for computer media is only 55°C. Above that temperature all information is lost. The critical temperature for hardware storage is 70°C. Above that temperature hardware will be effectively destroyed and will need replacing. Hence the latest BS/European standard for computer room construction (BS/EN1047-2) requires a maximum increase of 50°C (from a base of 15°C) over a 1 hour test period plus a maximum humidity of 80%.

Traditional materials – block, brick, plasterboard, etc. can be constructed to any specified 'rating' level (30 minutes up to 2 hours or more). However the U value (the rate of heat transfer) is such that the critical temperature for media and hardware may very quickly be exceeded, even though the final temperature meets the 180°C requirement.

The core material of ModuSec panels (Pyrofoam) has a very low U value of 0.18 (half that of mineral wool), which allows very minimal heat transfer for a long initial period before rising to 180°C at 90 minutes. This allows more time to deal with a major fire, whilst minor fires will have minimal or no effect on internal room temperatures.

As a bonus, ModuSec will provide a very efficient stable environment for computer room air handling systems by virtually eliminating any solar heat gain or heat gain from other outside heating systems.

BS476 Pt22 tests showed that at 60 minutes with 950°C on the outside, hardware and media would be protected to levels well within their critical temperatures, unlike most traditional materials.

Hence you need to look at the overall performance in relation to sensitive IT systems when considering and understanding the 'fire rating' standards for a computer room environment.

Tested at the Building Research Establishment to BS476 Pt22, in addition to the more stringent Lloyds A60 International Maritime Organisation (IMO) standard. The latter is tested under higher pressures than the BS476 Pt22 test and with multiple cable/pipe penetration points.

LPS 1181-2 enhanced

Pyrofoam panels also satisfied the requirements identified in LPS 1181-2 test procedure, with ceilings supported only on the walls. This is a reaction to fire and 'flashover' test for construction elements. The test is carried out on a 4.5m x 10m x 3m room with a 1 mega watt gas burning crib in 1 corner, providing maximum heat load to ceiling/wall joints. Hence we deem that our rooms can be built with ceiling panels supported on the wall panels without a steel ring beam or support from above.

Combustibility & Fire Load

Note that whilst mineral wool is classed as being 'non combustible', composite mineral wool panels do contain combustible materials (adhesives, surface materials, etc) and hence cannot be regarded as totally 'non combustible'. Pyrofoam cannot be classed as non combustible since it is an organic material. However, in testing by the Association of British Insurers, modified phenolic foam panels (Pyrofoam) are in the highest safety class for 'fire load' along side mineral wool.

Low Toxicity

Independent testing by Bodycote Warrington fire to International Maritime Organisation (IMO) standards (there is no UK standard) showed the levels of the key dangerous substances of carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide in Pyrofoam panels tested to be lower than that of a mineral wall panel test (according to manufacturers documentation), under the same conditions (irradiance level 50kW/M2).