What is the California Technical Bulletin 117-2013?
The California Technical Bulletin 117-2013 (CAL 117) is a regulation that sets the standard for upholstered furniture flammability in the furniture industry. The intent is to produce upholstered furniture which is safer from the hazards associated with smoldering ignition. This standard provides methods for smolder resistance of cover fabrics, barrier materials, resilient filling materials, and decking materials for use in upholstered furniture.
This regulation is only legally binding in the state of California, however, it has become a nationwide standard. CAL 117 requires that certain materials that are used in residential furniture pass a smolder test.
How is the CAL 117 smolder test conducted?
The CAL 117 tests are conducted within a closed test chamber where technicians can measure how quickly the open flame spreads and grows. The smolder test involves placing a lit cigarette on the furniture and measuring the length of the char that forms, as well as how much heat, smoke, and carbon monoxide is generated.
The material fails to meet the requirements of the CAL 117 test procedure if any of the following criteria occurs:
1. The mock-up test specimen continues to smolder after the 45 minute test duration.
2. A char develops more than 1.8 inches (45mm) in any direction from the cigarette on the fabric measured to the nearest point.
3. The specimen transitions to open flame.
The material passes if three mock-up specimens pass the test, i.e. the cigarettes burn their full length and the specimen is no longer smoldering.