The ASTM D2859 Ignition Characteristics of Finished Textile Floor Covering Materials is a standard of the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) that measures the ignitability of the surface of carpet in broadloom, modular, or area rug formats. This test method is referred to as the “Methenamine Pill Test” due to the methenamine tablet that is used as the incendiary source during testing. Carpets composed of all fiber types, both natural and manmade, can be tested by this method.
The scope of testing involves placing an ignited methenamine tablet in the center of a test specimen as it is situated within a test chamber, and then measuring the size of the burn hole. This test is meant to simulate a scenario in which a lit cigarette is dropped onto the floor. The test specimen receives a passing result if the flame does not spread more than three inches from the ignition point.
ASTM D2859 is the standard test method used when determining if carpet and rugs meet the acceptance criteria of federal flammability standards CPSC FF 1-70 and CPSC FF 2-70. Administered by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the purpose of these standards is to reduce the risk of damage, injury, and death due to fires that result when carpet and rugs ignite. All carpet and rugs introduced into commerce in the United States must comply with these standards, which includes carpet and rugs manufactured domestically, or imported from foreign manufacturers. Manufacturers must certify that their carpet and rugs meet the acceptance criteria of these regulations unless exempted by CPSC.
The CPSC FF 1-70 standard is used for carpet and large rugs while the CPSC FF 2-70 standard is used for small area rugs that are less than 24 square feet.