Application of Glow Wire Tester in The Household Appliance Industry Feb 26, 2019

For the home appliance industry, security has always been a concern problem. Due to misoperations, electrical wiring systems may have current overload or short circuit problem and caused burning of plastic materials. Therefore, various fire protection requirements have been developed to evaluate and determine the flammability level of materials used in electrical appliances. The glow wire test is one of the relevant fire prevention requirements adopted by the household appliance industry nowday.

As we all know, there have been various methods for assessing the flammability and fire resistance of materials. It is including direct and indirect flame combustion test methods. The standard UL94 is an example of a direct flame combustion test method. This method, which has been used for a long time, is to apply a flame directly to a vertically or horizontally mounted sample under controlled conditions. Conversely,the indirect flame combustion method is to apply a heat source to the sample. The glow wire test is an example of an indirect flame combustion method. The test results obtained from using these methods can be used to compare the flame retardant, auto-extinguish (if lightering) of the material and the possibility that the drip formed by the combustion does not cause flame spread.

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) developed the glow wire test method in 2001 because the original test method could not cover all sources of ignition. In particular, the glow wire test is mainly used to simulate the heating effect that may occur when an electrical device fails due to overload of the connected components or overheating of the device.

Glow Wire Tester

The glow wire tester is achieved predetermined temperature by heating the component. The heating element is called the glow wire. Test sample is fixed in place and the tissue is placed under the sample. After the predetermined temperature is reached, the glow wire is pressed against the sample for 30s with a force of 1 N. If combustion occurs within 30s, the duration, flame height, and whether the material drip ignites the tissue is recorded.

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glow wire test

The glow wire test is a very important test in the household appliance industry. For the appliance that is in charge of the tube, the non-metallic material parts which is supporting the current-carrying connection and the connecting parts within 3 mm, larger than 0.5g need to be subjected to the glow-wire test according to IEC60695-2-11 standard. For connectors with different material shielding, the IEC60695-2-11 glow wire test only tests the relevant test strength for the place where the shielding material is inserted, not directly for the shielding material.

During normal operation, the connections used in unattended appliances that are above 0.2A and the components within 3mm of these connections are subject to the most rigorous evaluation, a three-level flammability assessment is required to meet regulatory requirements.

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