More Than 29 Million Expert Opinions

May 5, 2021 by Bob Menchetti

Testing Services Update | May 2021

NGC Testing Logo

"One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions." - Wernher von Braun

I remember seeing this quotation on a colleague’s office wall on a daily basis and it caught my attention every time because I found it to be very true. Based on this quotation, NGC Testing Services is approaching the equivalency of 30 million expert opinions and counting. We thought it would be interesting to add up the total number of tests we have conducted here at NGC Testing Services since our beginning in 1965. These tests have contributed to the foundation of fire safety and improvement of acoustical and physical performance of products and systems.

While we are discussing numbers, to give an example of our central location, we list a selection of travel times to our lab from various North American cities.

Included in our list of travel distances is nearby Niagara Falls. We discuss the unique soundscape of Niagara Falls, which you can experience if you visit there. We also include an article about our horizontal floor-ceiling fire test furnace, one of the select few test furnaces of this type: full-scale and with one of the best-supporting features.

Let us know if we can assist with your testing needs, either for a specific test/development project or in an ongoing quality program we have in place with some of our clients.

Horizontal Floor-Ceiling Fire Testing

Full-scale (14' x 18') horizontal floor-ceiling furnaces are extremely rare, and we have one of the best. Our furnace, built in place when the building was constructed, is flush with the lab floor for superior access and test observation. It extends down two stories, including a control center/internal observation level and a sub-basement for thermocouple and gas burner maintenance.

We test a wide range of horizontal assemblies for fire endurance, such as roof assemblies, floor-ceiling assemblies, columns and beams, wood assemblies, penetrations, building joints, and transit cars. Features include:

  • 30-ton overhead crane coupled with large truck access into the building to accommodate delivery and handling of any type or size of material, and the largest selection of pre-assembled test specimens
  • 4 test frames
  • 80 burners
  • 16 thermocouples (to measure within the furnace)
  • Up to 165 unexposed thermocouples to measure the unexposed and internal test specimen temperatures
  • Full loading capabilities
  • Full hose stream test capabilities
  • For conducting a wide range of tests including the following test standards: ASTM E119, UL 263, NFPA 251, CAN/ULC S101, ASTM E814, UL 1479, NFPA 130, UBC 26-2, UL 2079

Call or email for more information.

Niagara Falls: A Unique Acoustical Experience

Acoustical Society Cover

NGC Testing Services is a unique source of building acoustics testing, but just 20 minutes north is another unique acoustical destination – Niagara Falls.

Niagara Falls is known for its scenic beauty and is a large tourist attraction. It's also a wonder of acoustics. Perhaps that is why the Acoustics Society of America (ASA) chose to hold its eighty-third conference in Buffalo in the early ’70s. More likely it was due to the opportunity to tour the relatively new state-of-the-art NGC acoustical lab, but the Falls and its acoustics may have contributed to their decision as well.

Anyone visiting Niagara Falls will experience the roar of the water falling 170 plus feet at a rate of about 750,000 gallons per second. The cascading water over Niagara Falls generates sound pressure levels that can be very significant. It not only generates audible sound levels but also inaudible infrasound. The audible sound is very much like a white noise spectrum, which is very relaxing and soothing. However, the infrasound frequencies it generates are quite different.

Infrasound has sound pressure levels at frequencies normally less than 20 Hertz which is below the lowest frequency that humans can typically hear. You can’t hear infrasound frequencies, but you sure can feel them. Have you ever been to a rock concert and felt the bass beat tingle your stomach? That’s Infrasound that you are feeling. If you walk close to the Falls, you feel that same type of tingle.

Infrasound occurs all around us. Certain animals (such as elephants and whales) communicate by generating infrasonic signals. Earthquakes, sonic booms, thunderstorms, and avalanches all have infrasonic content to their emissions. It has long been speculated that infrasonic pressure levels generated from wind turbines affect their surrounding area.

Doctor Alfred Bedard of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is a leading expert in the study of infrasound. He has made measurements at Niagara Falls where the infrasonic signals from the waterfall have been measured at 100 Pascals of sound pressure, which is quite appreciable.

High sound pressure levels in the audible range can cause hearing loss in humans. How does infrasound affect us? At high enough levels, infrasound can cause resonances in certain parts of your body. These resonances can cause both physical and psychological effects. Nausea, vertigo, depression, and fear can be the result. Tragically, suicides at Niagara Falls are not uncommon. That is what is so mesmerizing about visiting Niagara Falls. There is the beauty of the Falls, and the soothing white noise it generates, but there is also the infrasound which can be unnerving.

Another interesting characteristic of Niagara Falls acoustics is that it generates low frequencies in the audible sound range. Low frequencies can travel long distances before the sound is attenuated. There have been reports of people hearing Niagara Falls from as far as 10 miles away. In fact, St. John Neumann wrote in the 1800s that from his remote cabin, some 15 miles away, not far from our lab location, he would listen to the roar of the Falls at night. Of course, this was prior to urban noise pollution. But even today, residents of the City of Niagara Falls almost always hear the constant rumble of the Falls all day and night.

So if you visit NGC Testing Services in connection with your acoustical testing program, or in conjunction with several of the other tests we conduct, you can experience both the soundscape that is Niagara Falls and the acoustical testing capabilities of NGC Testing Services, two unique acoustical experiences.

NGC Testing Services - Time is On Our Side

"Remember that time is money." - Benjamin Franklin

Because minutes translate to dollars, savings seems to be on our side when it comes to serving you. Located just north of Buffalo, NY, NGC Testing Services is conveniently located to most North American population centers. Following is a sample of travel times to our lab from other cities and nearby local destinations.

  • West Coast hubs: less than a 5-hour flight
  • Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Cleveland: less than a 4-hour drive
  • Atlanta: 2-hour flight
  • Toronto: 1 1/2hr drive
  • Chicago: 1 1/2 hr flight
  • Baltimore, Washington DC, Philadelphia, NYC, and Boston: less than 1 hr flight
  • Niagara Falls, Canada: 25-minute drive
  • Niagara Falls, USA: 20-minute drive
  • Buffalo-Niagara Airport: 20-minute drive
  • University of Buffalo (SUNY), Structural and Earthquake Engineering & Simulation Laboratory (SEESL): 13-minute drive
  • Anchor Bar - home of "Buffalo chicken wings": 18-minute drive (bonus side trip!)
  • North America's largest building acoustics test lab to one of North America's few full-scale fire endurance and flame spreading testing labs: 2-minute walk (3 minutes if you stop by our structural/physical testing department)

Did You Know?

If what Wernher von Braun says, “One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions.”, is true, and we believe it is, we have rendered the equivalent of over 29 million expert opinions!

We added up total the number of selected tests we’ve conducted to date. (As you will see, we are not new to this “testing business.”) Of course, these numbers increase every day — even as you read this.


  • Horizontal Fire Tests: 975
    • ASTM E119, Floor-Ceilings, Roofs, Penetrations, etc.
  • Vertical Fire Tests: 2,561
    • ASTM E119, Partitions, Windows, Doors, Penetrations, etc.
  • Flame Spread Tests: 12,916
  • Room Corner Burns, NFPA 285 - Non-combustibility/Specialty Tests: 328


  • Floor-Ceiling Tests (IIC, Delta IIC, STC): 5,355
  • Wall Tests (STC): 2,895
  • Sound Absorption Tests (NRC): 3,150
  • Ceiling Acoustical Tests (CAC, AC): 890
  • Other Specialty Tests: 65

Structural / Air-Water / R-Value / Physical Testing: 2,727

TOTAL: 29,135

More from the Newsroom