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CSIRO puts composite products to the test

CSIRO’s two fire testing facilities, in Sydney and Melbourne are used by designers, engineers and end-users for fire testing and certification of composite products and materials

The Sydney facility carries out full-scale structural tests and flammability testing while the Melbourne laboratory has been significantly upgraded with the recent move to CSIRO’s Clayton site.  and has a significant upgrade of the testing facilities.

Accredited for many of the test methods by the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA), CSIRO can test products and materials on Australian, international and many other standards for fire resistance, combustibility, spread-of-flame, smoke emission and bushfire exposure.

The fire engineering experts are also called upon by government agencies for expert advice, including recent input into the building standards for facades.

 “Composites are often thought of as combustible however with correct formulation and design the products can find a path to market,” says Alex Webb, Group Leader Victoria and Fire Safety Engineer at CSIRO.

“Inappropriate use of non-fire retarded polymer on building facades has led to several surprisingly large fires however incorporation of fire retardants, fire tests which prove safety level of the whole wall system, and a performance based strategy has led to improved safety and product compliance.

“The use of composite products for the building and construction industry is expected to increase as innovative solutions continue to evolve to address issues of energy efficiency, buildability and durability.”

The fire testing labs are part of CSIRO’s Infrastructure Technologies group which provides research services to the construction and infrastructure industry mainly focussed on assisting with a path to compliance and the market for novel products and solutions to challenging issues.

More information

CSIRO’s Guidelines for Compliance with Building Standards for Fire Safety of External Walls on High-rise Buildings are available at this link …