Your Trusted Partner for Decades
Testing Services Update | February 2021
We have been around; we are not new at this. At NGC Testing Services, we have the history (56 years), the state-of-the-art facility (53,000 SF with fire, acoustical, and structural/physical testing capabilities), and the technical expertise (more than 150 combined years).
These are the reasons our worldwide clientele trusts us with their testing projects.
We will discuss some of the history in this newsletter, including important fire testing and developments our laboratory has been involved with over the years which have contributed to fire safety advancements. We will focus on our acoustical laboratory complex, the largest and best acoustical laboratory for building acoustics testing in North America.
While on acoustical testing, we collect a lot of data during a typical test and will share some examples of the quantity. Another article outlines the wide range of tests we conduct for building envelope products and systems. These tests include evaluations of air & water penetration, wind load, as well as for fire and acoustics, all in a single one-stop testing facility.
We are early in 2021, let’s all hope this year will see improvements and we return to somewhat normal. I am sure we are all glad to put 2020 with its trial and tribulations, behind us.
Please keep NGC Testing Services in mind to assist you in your next testing project. Take advantage of our history, unique one-stop testing facility, and our extensive expertise.
FOCUS ON: BUILDING ENVELOPE TESTING
We have the capabilities to test exterior building products and systems such as exterior finishes, sheathing, windows, doors, and curtain walls for air infiltration, water penetration, uniform wind loads, acoustical performance, and fire exposure evaluation all in a single test facility.
Our Building Envelope Testing Services include (but are not limited to):
- ASTM E331 | Water Penetration of Exterior Windows, Skylights, Doors and Curtain Walls by Uniform Static Air Pressure Difference
- ASTM E547 | Water Penetration of Exterior Windows, Skylights, Doors and Curtain Walls by Cyclic Static Air Pressure Difference
- ASTM E330 | Structural Performance of Exterior Windows, Doors, Skylights and Curtain Walls by Uniform Static Air Pressure Difference
- ASTM E1233 | Standard Test Method of Exterior Windows, Doors, Skylights and Curtain Walls by Uniform Cyclic Air Pressure Differential
- ASTM E119 | Fire tests of building construction and materials (UL 263, UBC 7-1), NFPA 251, CAN/ULC-S101)
- ASTM E84 | Surface-burning characteristics of building materials (NFPA 255, UL 723, UBC 8-1)
- NFPA 252 | Fire tests of door assemblies, including positive pressure (UL 10 A-B-C, ASTM E152, UBC 7-2, UBC 7-3)
- NFPA 257 | Fire tests of window assemblies (UL 9, ASTM E163, UBC 7-4)
- ASTM E90 | Measurement of Airborne Sound Transmission loss of building partitions (ISO 140, Part 3)
- ASTM E413 | Classification of rating sound insulation (STC
- ASTM E1332 | Standard classification for determination of Outdoor-Indoor Transmission Class (OITC)
- ASTM E1408 | Measures the sound transmission loss of door panels and door systems
- ASTM E283 | Determining rate of air leakage through exterior windows, curtain walls, and doors under specified pressure differences across the specimen
THE FOREFRONT OF FIRE SAFETY
NGC Testing Services has been at the forefront of several fire safety and related product system development advances over the years.
One case in point: In 1975, a disastrous fire occurred in the Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Plant in Alabama, which provided electrical power to the Tennessee Valley Authority.
A lit candle ignited highly combustible materials being used to seal air voids around power cables and electrical trays and was carried through the thick dividing walls into adjoining chambers of the plant. The power plant was out of operation for 18 months. Damages and downtime costs were estimated to be over $300-500 million (in 1976 dollars) in direct and indirect losses.
Regulatory agencies, in response to this event, required extensive fire testing of materials and systems used in sealing the countless penetrations in walls and floors common in nuclear power plants.
Much of this testing was completed at NGC Testing Services at the time with representatives of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission frequently on hand to witness the tests. This led to fundamental reform in nuclear power plant planning and newly adopted regulations.
Other important fire safety tests and product/system developments over the years at NGC Testing Services include elevator shaft fire enclosures and spray-on fire protection for structural steel for high-rise buildings, fire separation walls for adjoining residential units, and fire safety tests in the transportation area.
NGC TESTING SERVICES ACOUSTICAL TESTING COMPLEX
One of the Best and Largest in North America
Constructed in place when the building was constructed in 1965, the acoustical complex is essentially a building within a building. The concept at that time was to duplicate certain recognized acoustical laboratories taking the best from the best and incorporating into one state-of-the-art laboratory. Bolt Beranek and Newman, consultants in acoustics, conducted in-depth studies and verified the acoustic quality of the newly built laboratory and its different chambers.
The NGC Testing Services lab was one of the first acoustical labs accredited by NVLAP in the initial year of their accreditation program.
The complex has 9 independent test chambers totaling approximately 3,500 SF in floor space and with a total volume of approximately 40,000 Cu. Ft. Additional space in our 53,000 SF building is dedicated to assembly construction, curing, storage, and material handling specifically for acoustical testing.
Each of nine independent test chambers is dedicated to a single type of test, we do not compromise performance by converting the chambers over or share chambers to conduct multiple types of tests. This is important in that it ensures performance consistently which results in test result reliability. And because chambers are not shared, multiple tests can be carried out simultaneously which translates into a quick turnaround.
The Floor-Ceiling chambers include the use of an overhead crane that can move 12 ft. by 16 ft. test floors in and out quickly. All construction and curing of test assemblies are completed outside the test chambers and then installed and removed by an overhead crane when cured or ready for testing. Many standard assemblies are prebuilt and in stock plus custom assemblies can be saved for additional testing in the future. We currently have more than 50 preconstructed assemblies in our inventory. This serves to greatly minimize the time required to complete a test program for our clients.
Because the acoustical complex was completed at the same time as the building, space for isolation was built into the flooring. All chambers are constructed on springs, even the largest concrete-walled chambers. Additional isolation of each test chamber is included from not only each other but also from the surrounding building. The upper room of our floor-ceiling chambers is supported by columns on separate sets of springs, independent from the lower room. Because it is a building within a building, temperature and humidity can be closely controlled.
A WIDE RANGE OF ACOUSTICAL TESTING DATA
Acoustical testing requires multiple measurements and collecting a tremendous amount of data. One example is the data NGC Testing Services collects during a typical ASTM E492 IIC test.
A typical IIC test includes data from:
- 4 tapping machine locations
- 8 microphone measurements per tapping machine location
- 32 measurements total with the tapping machine activated
- 4 measurements in lower room: for background noise
- 20 measurements in lower room: absorption correction
- 60 measurements total for an IIC test, collected at each of 21 frequencies (50 Hz to 5000 Hz) simultaneously.
In all, we collect and record 1,260 pieces of data from measurements. Each measurement is actually the average of a tremendous amount of data that is collected at millisecond intervals over a time period of up to 30 seconds. Per the test standard, data between 100 Hz to 3150 Hz is used to calculate the IIC rating. Additional data is collected and recorded above and below this range for information.
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