Contract Laboratory Profile: Combustion Research Center

Wed, 10/21/2009 - 4:20am

Combustion Research Center
Combustion Research Center

Kidde-Fenwal, Inc.

Holliston, MA

Years providing contract services
40+ Years

Dr. Joseph A. Senecal, Director

What services are offered/performed by the company?
  Air testing      Analytical testing








Drug development






Environmental Impact   


Environmental Simulation


Environmental stress testing   

Fire Testing






Materials characterization   


Materials Testing


Mechanical Testing   


Mercury testing




Microscopy/Surface Analysis


Nondestructive Testing   




Preclinical studies   




Rheological testing   




Thermal Analysis   








What services are offered/performed by the company?
  Energy Analysis      Consulting Services




Elemental Testing


Wet Chemistry   


Physical Chemistry


Analytical Chemistry   


Method Development


Method Validation   


Stability Studies


Microbiology Testing   


Biological Testing


Dissolution Testing   


Water Testing


Adhesive Analysis   


Agricultural Inspection






Catalyst Testing   


Chemical Analysis




Emissions Testing


Environmental Testing   


Failure Analysis


Fabric Analysis   


Material Testing


Food Safety Analysis   



Fuel Testing   




Mechanical Properties Testing   


Melamine Detection


BPA Dectection   


Metallurgy Analysis


Quality Control   




Thermal Analysis   


Plastic Testing


Rubber Testing   


Solvent Analysis


Sterility Testing   


Bioburden Analysis


Air Testing   


Dioxin Testing


Emergent Chemical Testing   


Mercury Testing


Mine Testing   


Odor Testing


Electronics Testing   




















Describe the company/organization role in the given testing/service area the company provides.
The Combustion Research Center (CRC) is a business unit of Kidde-Fenwal, Inc. The CRC provides testing services related to the combustion and ignition properties of dusts, liquids and gases through application of ASTM standard test methods. The CRC laboratory is accredited to ISO 17025.

Describe the company’s experience and expertise in the company’s service area.
The CRC has been providing materials testing services for over 40 years in primarily in support of process safety, explosion prevention system design and fire protection systems.

Relationship with companies
CRC test services are offered on a fixed price proposal basis. All work is confidential and performed under agreed terms and conditions designed specifically to support the unique requirements of testing services.

Factors for your testing/service area
Critical to the customer is an accurate understanding the combustion hazard properties of materials used or found in their processes or plant environments. Customers play an important role in the testing process as it is they who select and prepare material samples, especially dusts, that are submitted for testing. Combustion hazard test results are accurate only for the material actually tested. If the sample submitted does not fairly represent the materials found in the process areas then the customer’s understanding of explosion and fire risks in their process or facility could be non-conservative. The CRC attempts to mitigate such risk by informing the client of the practices recommended in standards for sample selection and preparation.

Laboratory equipment or techniques are important in your area of testing
Each ASTM standard test method for determination of a material ignition or combustion property requires the use of highly specified test equipment that is subject to calibration and validation. All CRC test systems and measuring devices are fully calibrated and validated against recognized standards.

Scientific trends/business trends/regulatory trends are impacting contract laboratories or the company’s testing/service area today
Materials processing technologies frequently generate very finely divided particulate solids (dusts) as a step in product manufacturing. Ignition and explosion properties of dusts become more hazardous as particle size becomes smaller. The number of companies that recognize the risks of dust processing is growing thus placing increased demand for combustion hazards testing of materials.

The periodic, and unfortunate, occurrence of industrial explosions that have lead to death and injury of personnel and extensive facility losses have resulted in OSHA taking action in the form of promulgation of new regulations. These regulations are intended to reduce the risk of industrial explosions. An important element of the regulations is testing of industrial dusts to determine their explosion characteristics. The requirements are set forth by OSHA in Directive CPL 03-00-008 -Combustible Dust National Emphasis Program.

Success story
A processor of animal food products experienced several fires in industrial web dryers in a single year. Process analysis revealed that product dusts were accumulating in depth in “dead spaces” within the dryer housing. Analysis of the ignition properties of the dusts revealed critical relationships between temperature, dust layer depth and exposure time in connection with the likelihood that accumulated dust would self-ignite, i.e. spontaneously combust.

How will roles of contract laboratories change over the next few years?
Combustion testing is a very specialized practice. In general, companies do not have the expertise to bring this test service in house. Growing regulatory emphasis on reduction of the risk of fires and explosions in industrial settings will likely lead to increased demand for these services.


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