Fire Resistance

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The Fire Resistance Section in the Fire Technology Department of the Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Division evaluates the fire and structural performance of materials, components, systems and structures when subjected to full-scale fire exposure and post-flashover conditions. Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) clients include commercial manufacturers, engineers, architects, specifiers, building code authorities, petrochemical, off-shore, transportation, telecommunications industries, and numerous government agencies such as DOT, NRC, and USCG. We participate in development of national and international standards and perform evaluation tests in accordance with ASTM, NFPA, IMO, ISO, UL and ULC, FM, and Bellcore NEBS protocols. Both Standard Protocols and Client/Material Specific Custom Evaluation Programs are conducted using SwRI's state-of-the-art full- scale furnace facility, full-scale indoor test facility, and the intermediate-scale multistory apparatus (ISMA). Additional programs are conducted using SwRI's jet-fire facility and high-intensity burner (HIB) facility, a 25-ft and 50-ft corner test facility and SwRI's remote test facility is utilized for full-scale pool fire exposures (up to 50-ft).

Matthew Blais, Ph.D., Director

Fire Resistance Technical Strengths

  • Fire-resistance rated assemblies (walls, floor-ceiling, roof, fire stops, doors and windows)
    Karen Carpenter
  • IMO/USCG fire resistance rated marine assemblies (bulkhead/deck, cable transits, penetration seals, doors and windows)
    Karen Carpenter
  • Structural and environmental exposure requirements for fire rated assemblies
    Karen Carpenter
  • High-rise, pool-fire, jet-fire and HIB (critical service equipment, control systems, ROV, pumps, fittings, and fixtures)
    Jeremy McDonald
  • Transportation and storage containers (aboveground fuel storage tanks (AST), CNG, LPG, radioactive and hazardous materials)
    Bill Bendele and Alexandra Joyce
  • Fixed guideway and mass transit assemblies (people movers, rail vehicles, aircraft/airport)
    Bill Bendele and Karen Carpenter
  • Automotive systems (full vehicle flammability, fuel systems, plastic tanks and components, and liquid/vapor permeation)
    Bill B. Bendele
  • Telecommunications testing (Bellcore NEBS, UL 1950)
    Bill B. Bendele
  • Building and fire code compliance (UBC, BOCA, SBCCI, UFC, and ICC)
    Karen Carpenter
  • Intermediate-scale calorimetry (furniture tests, room tests, European SBI test)
    Karen Carpenter
  • Large-scale calorimetry (pool fires, commodities, large furnished compartments)
    Karen Carpenter
Benefiting government, industry and the public through innovative science and technology
Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a multidisciplinary, independent, nonprofit, applied engineering and physical sciences research and development organization with 9 technical divisions.