Burn baby burn, part 2 of CE testing, the flammability tests (EN71-2)

Good morning all you lovely readers,

No automatic alt text available.I hope I find you well on this rather grey day here in Birmingham, UK. I only add that as it is the middle of August and as such supposedly the middle of summer here, the poor school kids haven’t had it too good yet.

Anyway, if you missed part one of this series of blog posts: Mechanical and physical properties (EN71-1) you can find it here. 

But today is all about the burn and I don’t mean a Jane Fonda exercise routine. (Anyone remember? I hated the ‘burn’), I’m off on a tangent again. Ok  the burn.

I have found it hard to find a definition for this part on-line but this from https://blog.asiaqualityfocus.com/toys-standards-and-the-en-71-regulation-part-1-2-3/ seems to sum it up pretty well:

Most materials used by manufacturers to produce toys will burn if
exposed to an appropriate ignition source. To reduce the risks of burn
injuries associated with children being in contact with certain toys,
different testing methods have been defined to identify a limited rate
of spread of flame or maximum ‘after flame time’ to give time to the
child to drop the toy or take distance from it before serious injury

So today I’m basically showing the tests for how fast the toy burns and if a child is able to get away from the toy in time if it should catch light. This should be a burn rate of 30mm per second or less. Conformance describe this as ‘when the spread of the flame reaches the top of the fabric’

The first test I did I didn’t video very well at all, and after a few burnings I realised it was best to have a clock with a second hand in view of the video too so I could work out the burn rate better, but because I don’t want to keep burning things I have spent time making, you will just have to bear with me.

As I am making rag dolls with removable clothes these all need to be taken into account. The doll as a whole needs testing and then the individual items of clothing need testing, so to keep it a little bit more simple for myself to begin with, I have decided they should just have a dress and a pair of bloomers (well they need knickers, don’t they? )

I also spent quite a bit of time burning strips of fabric to see which burn faster, which determined my choice of dress fabric. This fabric was not the best choice, but I didn’t know that when I sewed it. Unsurprisingly the dresses burn much faster than the stuffed doll, which on it’s own just self extinguished in a very satisfying manner. In this test the dress didn’t catch fire and the doll’s leg went out.

Please don’t watch the video if you don’t want to see the demise of this poor little girl (never named cause I thought it would help), but I have to own up I felt terrible after this and it almost put me off trying  to complete this CE malarkey at all.

But she was lit at 00.13
and was not covered in flames until around 00.31.
When you know she was 22cm tall, we can work out that, using 3cm a second, the maximum time for the flames to reach burned at would be 7.3333333 seconds after the start of burning so that is 20.3333333 seconds into filming which is this point:

so although she is no longer with us, she has ‘happily’ shown that Mini Bees pass the EN71-2 burn test.

But what about their clothes well as there was nothing left of that dress and pair of bloomers, off I went to make a new ones. The dress is slightly over 150mm, but the bloomers aren’t, and anything under needs to follow the following guidelines:

..you should test each component separately. The test for individual components is referred to as a “surface flash” test – you simply need to check that when you apply a flame to the components, it extinguishes itself or does not spread rapidly

The material I intend to use for their bloomers is this lovely Liberty print and at a flash test passed ok. This piece is 15cm high and this is 5 seconds into burn which is a pass. Sadly it folded so you can’t really see.

And here is the 5.33 second point of the dress burn (a 16cm dress so easily within the burn rate).

And just when you think you’re done, as I mentioned last week, I now need to wash doll, and clothes and test again.

All of this seems like a lot of work and a lot of loss of work, but now it is done I can go ahead and make dolls using the same fabric and procedures knowing they are
       1. safe for all children
       2. completely legal
and 3. of a standard I am happy to sell and know wont fall apart when played with, a big thumbs up.

I’d like to point out that I was carrying out these tests in our very useful utility area, over a large Belfast sink, so any burning material fell into water and was extinguished, please if you are doing these tests yourself, don’t get caught out and think it wont take, be careful and definitely don’t hold the toy when testing.

Next week part 3 of testing, ie EN71-3, and then tiding it all up and the technical files, bet you can’t wait.

Hugs and Kisses

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