Plastics for aircraft interior applications

FAR 25.853 tested and flame resistant

Plastic materials are a good solution to reduce fuel consumption thanks to their low weight in comparison to metals.
In order to be considered for an Aircraft Interior application, interior materials have to fulfill several technical requirements designed to limit the consequences of fire in the cabin, and maintain reasonable safety levels for the passengers. 
To ensure fire protection in aircraft, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires various fire testing procedures (such as FAR 25.853) to demonstrate that aircraft materials meet specific performance criteria when exposed to heat or flames.

When we consider the standard range of plastic stock shapes, high performance materials such as PEEK, PEI, PPS typically meet requirements for flame resistance without modification; on the other hand, standard materials such as PA usually do not unless they have been modified with special additives.

This is the reason why we have developed several new thermoplastic products, with a flame retardant additive: these materials are designed to meet the typical demands of aircraft interiors, and can be a lower cost alternative to high performance materials when high mechanical performance or temperature resistance is not required. 

These new aircraft interior plastics tested according to FAR 25.853 are:

We offer semi-finished plastic products as rods, sheets and pipes / tubes, and keep a large stock portfolio. Custom production runs are also possible.

TECAMID 66 GF15 FR black

TECAMID 66 GF15 FR black is a specially formulated glass filled 66 nylon plastic designed for use in aircraft interior design.

TECANYL VH2 black

TECANYL VH2 black is a specially formulated PPE plastic designed for use in aircraft interiors. It has been tested to and passed the requirements for FAR 25.853...

TECANYL VH2 grey

TECANYL VH2 grey is a specially formulated PPE plastic (Polyphenylene ether) designed for use in commercial aircraft interior design.

HIGH PERFORMANCE PLASTICS WITH FLAMMABILITY CERTIFICATE

We have tested as well several high performance thermoplastics for flammability : 

Tested to either a 60 second vertical burn test standard or a 12 second vertical burn test standard, additional smoke emission and toxicity, and heat release tests can also be done if required.

We offer a wide range of materials to cover the requirments for many applications in aircraft interior applications such as seats, lighting, galleys or cockpit equipment.
Given our ability to share these extensive test results with our customers, these  “ready for use” materials truly open up new possibilities and opportunities for design improvements in commercial aircraft interiors and VIP aircraft interiors alike.

Aircraft interior materials designated for use in an aircraft cabin environment must meet certain flammability requirements. 

However, it is the actual position of the part in the plane that will determine whether just the flammability test or the whole FST (Fire, smoke and toxicity) test (detailed below) is required:

  • Flammability test as per 60 second and/or 12 second vertical burn test
  • Smoke density test / smoke emission
  • Combustion toxicity
  • Heat release 
  • Flammability as per 15 second horizontal burn test

Ensinger's flammability test for plastics always indicates the thickness tested, and will correspond to the thinnest wall thickness admissible on the finished machined part from our semi-finished plastics. Please refer to material data sheets to check which test was passed for a given material. Flammability test certificates are available upon request at time of order.

The test results provided on our plastic materials are a great supplement customers can use to give an indication of potential results when performing final FST tests on machined parts or their subassemblies.  It definitely allows them to select quickly, and with confidence the right material for a given application.
We remain available for additional questions, and can perform additional tests if necessary: for example, we may test additional thickness for flammability if required.

far 25.853 and jar 25.853

The requirements for use of materials in aircraft, and especially in aircraft interiors are quite similar all over the world, and are clearly described by various regulatory agencies. A summary of related agency descriptions follows.
Aircraft regulation is mainly defined by 2 standards which are equivalent:
  • in USA : the FAR (Federal Aviation Regulation) which is part of the Title 14 of the CFR (Code of Federal Regulations), issued by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration)
  • in EU : the CS (Certification Specifications) or the JAR (equivalent to FAR created in Europe), issued by EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency)
Large commercial aircraft are covered by section/part “25” for both standards; Aircraft Interiors are covered by section “853”. We therefore refer to “FAR 25.853”, JAR 25.853”, “JAR-25, § 25.853”, “FAR Part 25, § 25.853”,  “14 CFR Part 25.853”, “CS 25.853”


In order to define more detailed instructions and safety precautions, individual aircraft manufacturers have prepared their own internal documentation, all have similar content regarding FST requirements.

  • BSS : « BOEING SAFETY STANDARD » 
  • AITM : « AIRBUS INDUSTRIE TEST METHOD »; these AITM are gathered in the document « AIRBUS DIRECTIVE» ABD0031
 
The different tests are described in the Appendix F of FAR/CS 25.
All the materials have to pass the vertical burn test. Some aircraft interior components such as interior ceiling, wall panels, partitions, galley structure, large cabinets or cabin stowage compartments must pass as well smoke emission and toxicity tests, as well as a heat release test.

CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN FAR 25.853, AIRBUS AND BOEING STANDARDS

The following table lists the correspondence of testing methods between FAR 25.853, AITM and BSS.

Test description

FAR 25.853 

Airbus ABD 0031    
specification 

Boeing
specification

Flammability
60 seconds Vertical

FAR Part 25, § 25.853 (a) and Appendix F, Part I, para. (a)(1)(i)

 AITM 2.0002A  BSS 7230 F1
Flammability
12 seconds Vertical

FAR Part 25, § 25.853 (a) and Appendix F, Part I, para. (a)(1)(ii)

 AITM 2.0002B  BSS 7230 F2
Flammability
15 seconds Horizontal   

FAR Part 25, § 25.853 (a) and Appendix F, Part I, para. (a)(1) (iv)  

 AITM 2.0003  BSS 7230 F3
 

FAR Part 25, § 25.853 (a) and Appendix F, Part I, para. (a)(1) (v)

   BSS 7230 F4
 Heat Release

FAR Part 25, § 25.853 (d) and Appendix F, Part IV

 AITM 2.0006  BSS 7322
 Smoke Density

FAR Part 25, § 25.853 (d) and Appendix F, Part V

 AITM 2.0007A & B  BSS 7238
 Combustion Toxicity N/A  AITM 3.0005  BSS 7239