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Auralex Acoustics and Fire Safety

Published: Wed June 04, 2008  News Feed

June 4th 2008

We have discovered some common mis-conceptions out there in the public domain relating to fire-safety and the Auralex Acoustics range of products.  Due to this we have 'borrowed' some detailed and factual information from the kind folks at Auralex in the USA.  Please note that the specific details and reference to fire-codes in this text apply to the American standards, and not currently that of British or European standards.  However, Auralex are currently in the process of having the whole product range approved to the latest and most stringent standards for Europe.

For the end-user, the compliance to any specific fire-code is only required if the product is to be installed in a commercial installation that specifically requires the code.  Since Auralex products are among the safest available in the world, this criteria is not usually a problem.  Indeed, it is true to say that the Californian fire-codes (that ALL Auralex products meet) are as strict, or sometimes even more strict, than some of the UK or EU codes that are touted by some suppliers of so-called 'professional acoustic treatment' products.

We have recently discovered that some brands of acoustic foam are quoting a fire-code that relates specifically to the upholstery in agricultural vehicles, which is hardly a relaible comparison to the typical installation environment for Auralex. However, any and all tractor lovers out there that wish to improve the acoustics in their trusty vehicles can certainly depend upon Auralex! 

But seriously, if safety is of concern (as it should be) rest assured that no like-for-like product available is safer than Auralex.  And even better news, if you install Auralex in your studio your recordings & mixes will sound better than ever.

If you find yourself in the process of an 'attempted mugging' by some unscrupulous seller of competing (often copied) products, drop us a line before parting with your hard-earned cash to make sure you are being sold the right products for the right price and the right reasons. It can't hurt to check.

The infomation below should be helpful to anyone who needs further clarification. If any further information is required, or simply some concerns need addressing, please feel very welcome in contacting us at auralex@dolphinmusic.co.uk and we will either respond to your queries personally, or have one of the product experts at Auralex Acoustics contact you directly.

Please keep an eye on these news pages or register your interest for Auralex product alerts through any Auralex product page, and we will update you on any further developments in this area.

Here is the interesting fact-based stuff - Happy reading!

 


 

Are Auralex products fire retardant?
Yes. All Auralex products are fire retardant. Auralex acoustical foam is rated Class B and is specifically designed to be fire retardant to better meet building and fire codes. This has always been the case with Auralex acoustical foam products since they are designed specifically for use as acoustical treatments. (Note: Auralex fire retardants are chemically added to the foam. They are not sprayed on.) Auralex products such as our line of fabric-wrapped ProPanels and ELiTE CFS are rated Class A fireproof.
 
What is the difference between Auralex acoustical foam products and “bedding” or “packing” foam?
Since Auralex has been in business, our priorities have been (a) safety and (b) better sound. Auralex acoustical foam products are engineered to be (a) inherently fire retardant and (b) the best for treating acoustics. Many "bedding" or "packing" foams are (a) not fire retardant at all and (b) perform poorly as acoustical treatments. More than ever, Auralex encourages for the buyer to beware. Many "inexpensive" types of foam will not offer the levels of safety and acoustical control that Auralex acoustical foam products offer.
 
What happens if fire is exposed to Auralex acoustical foam?
It will smolder and smoke, but it will not burst into flames. If the flame source is removed or goes out, the foam will "self-extinguish." Again, this is due to the inherent fire retardant properties of Auralex acoustical foam products. (Note: Auralex does not encourage lighting or otherwise exposing flames or heat sources to foam products. Auralex cannot be held liable for the misuse of products or injuries caused by the misuse of products. Also - regardless of whether you use Auralex acoustical foam products - general safety "common sense" should prevail in your home or facility. Fire extinguishers, fire exits, etc. should all be considered with general safety in mind.)

What information is required by my fire marshal, fire inspector, or building inspector?
Auralex tests all products in accordance with the ASTM E84 and NFPA 255 Standards for Surface Burning. This is in compliance with most building and fire safety codes. You can download a PDF copy of the official test report here. A fire marshal, fire inspector, or building inspector will be able to interpret this test and compare it to the requirements stated in your local building codes.

I’ve heard Auralex acoustical foam products are “Class B.” What does that mean?
The Standard for Surface Burning (ASTM E84 or NFPA 255) yields two numbers: "Flame Spread Index" and "Smoke Developed Index" These numbers are compared with three ranges called out in building and fire safety codes. The three ranges correspond to "Class A", "Class B", and "Class C." (Some codes refer to these as "Class 1", "Class 2", and "Class 3." The Class designations are interchangeable.) Depending on the results of the test, a material will fall into one of these three categories. "Class A" (or "Class 1") is the best, indicating that a material is not likely to burn very much, but may produce some smoke. "Class C" (or "Class 3") is the worst, indicating that a material will likely burn more and possibly even produce more smoke.
All Auralex acoustical foam products are "Class B." Without getting too technical, it means that Auralex acoustical foam products will burn a little more than a "Class A" material and will produce smoke.
Note that all "Classes" of foam are considered "fire retardant." The types of foam to be extremely wary of are those that have no "Class" designation at all. In all likelihood, these materials have no fire retardant properties whatsoever and Auralex discourages their use as acoustical treatments.

So does “Class B” meet my building codes?
It depends. Unfortunately, building codes vary widely from place to place. There is no "nationwide" building or fire safety code that everyone follows. Literally, something considered acceptable for your building may not be considered acceptable for the same type of building in a town, say, four miles from you. If you are unsure at all about what is or is not acceptable for your building, you are strongly encouraged to contact your local fire marshal, fire inspector, or building inspector prior to purchasing any acoustical treatment products.

Is  SonoMatt – the Auralex version of “egg crate” foam – fire retardant?

Yes. Each and every Auralex acoustical foam product - in any color or shape - is fire retardant and "self-extinguishing."

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