A new PVC4Cables brochure supports professionals and specifiers with the necessary information to make the right choice in different building contexts, demonstrating the ability of PVC cables to meet the individual specifications of intended-use/fire-risk at competitive costs.
In building and construction, choosing the right cable means combining technical performance, fire safety, environmental performance, as well as economic aspects in the most efficient way.
The design of a building has a key function in the event of fire. Fire safety and prevention measures allowing the safe evacuation of people must be supported by an adequate knowledge of the performance of the building materials. Fire safety planning is a complex issue that takes a number of parameters into account.
“With this document – says Zdenek Hruska, Project Manager of PVC4Cables – our Platform aims to provide B&C professionals and installers with the useful information to choose the right PVC cables in terms of cost-efficiency and fire performance, in full compliance with the CPR (Construction Products Regulation) and related standards”.
Wires and cables are today the largest application sector for flexible PVC in Europe, absorbing 7% of PVC resins production. PVC wires and cables account for around 46% of the European cables market, thanks to their advantages in terms of best cost/performance, sustainability and recyclability, which translate into technical, functional and safety benefits for end-users and consumers.
In the B&C sector, from private housing to public and crowded environments, PVC cables have been for decades, and still are, amongst the best choices in terms of fire safety, as they do not facilitate the generation and spread of fire.
In Europe, the Construction Products Regulation sets the harmonised technical conditions for free circulation of products within the European Union and identifies a number of essential requirements to respect, including reaction-to-fire performance of products in the event of an outbreak of fire.
The European standard EN 13501-6 classifies electric cables in 7 reaction-to-fire classes from A to F, identified by the subscript ‘ca’ (cable), according to their heat release and flame spread performance. This indication is completed with additional information defining the performance in relation to smoke production (s), flaming droplets and/or particles (d) and acidity (a).
Each Member State refers to this classification scheme in its own legislative instruments addressing fire safety in buildings and constructions. Consequently, the use of a given cable category can change depending on the final application for which each Member State independently prescribes class requirements in terms of primary class (A to F) and additional classification (s, d and a).
“The PVC value chain is constantly engaged in the research and development of new formulations, and seeks to continue providing the market with high-quality, high-performance products. Thanks to recent formulation development, already today it is possible to produce PVC cables compliant with the Euroclass B-s1-d0 – states Carlo Ciotti, spokesperson of PVC4Cables. New formulations for PVC cables are currently under development to further improve their performance in fires. In this respect, nanotechnologies, for example, represent an interesting perspective for the development and use of efficient functional additives in polymers”.
The PVC cables industry is committed to ensure maximum safety and protection of the environment and of the health of users and consumers, and recyclability represents a fundamental environmental requisite. PVC cables are recyclable and successfully recycled. In 2018, more than 151,000 tonnes of PVC cable waste were recycled within the VinylPlus® framework, representing 20% of the total recycled PVC volumes, and saving more than 300,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions .
PVC advantages in case of fire
- PVC is difficult to ignite and does not sustain combustion.
- PVC is self-extinguishing.
- PVC does not contribute to flame propagation.
- PVC does not generate sparks or flaming droplets.
- PVC irradiates only a minimum amount of heat.
- PVC would generate very little smoke in a real fire situation.
- PVC expands by up to 800% and carbonises in the external layer (like a meringue) when it is burned, thus making a significant contribution to slowing down fire propagation.
- The smoke released from PVC combustion is not more toxic than the one released from any other carbon-based material, including natural materials such as wood.
- Hydrogen Chloride contained in the smoke is irritating and provides an immediate signal of the development of the fire, acting as an escape alarm.