CAL 117-2013 Flammability

California Technical Bulletin 117-2013

The California Technical Bulletin 117-2013 is a California fire safety law that measures the smolder resistance of cover fabrics, barrier materials, filling materials, and decking materials used in upholstered furniture when exposed to a lighted cigarette. There are four sections of test methods that measure each relevant component: Section 1 is used when testing cover fabric, Section 2 is used when testing barrier materials, Section 3 is used when testing resilient filling materials, and Section 4 is used when testing decking materials.

For cover fabric, the scope of testing involves placing fabric test specimens over standard polyurethane foam to simulate miniature vertical back and horizontal seat cushions, which is referred to as a mock-up. A standard approved cigarette is lighted and place in the crevice created by the cushions, and test operators record smoldering time and char lengths. According to the State of California’s Department of Consumer Affairs, a cover fabric is considered to pass or fail based on the following criteria:

  1. A single mock-up test specimen fails to meet the requirements of this test procedure if any of the following criteria occurs:
    a.) The mock-up test specimen continues to smolder after the 45-minute test duration
    b.) A vertical char length of more than 1.8 inches (45 mm) develops on the cover fabric
    c.) The mock-up test specimens transition to open flaming
  2. The cover fabric passes the test if three initial mock-up specimens pass the test, i.e., the cigarettes burn their full length and the mock-ups are no longer smoldering.[1]


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