ASTM - 84
ASTM E-84 measures the flame spread and smoke index which are considered the surface burning characteristics of a material. Depending on test results, materials can have classifications of Class A, B, or C according to NFPA , ANSI/NFPA No. 101, "Life Safety Code" , 2006 Edition, or IBC (International Building Code), 2006 Edition, Chapter 8, Interior Finishes, Section 803, if they pass any level of this standard.
The test is conducted in a fire tunnel using a 22" x 24' sample of the material. The ignition source is 7 seconds in duration with the total test lasting 10 minutes. The flame front cannot exceed 24" during the test. Results are expressed as Flame Spread Index, and Smoke Developed Value. Following are the criteria for each level of this test, regardless of whether NFPA or IBC.
NFPA 265 & 286 Tests
The NFPA 265 Test involves applying a wall finish specimen to two walls. A 40kW flame is introduced for a period of 5 minutes and then increased to 150kW for 10 minutes. The specimen receives a pass/fail rating depending on whether or not flashover occurs. Flashover occurs when the majority of surfaces in a space are heated to the point at which they give off flammable gases that are hot enough to ignite themselves (i.e. they do not need to be touched by flame to start burning). Prior to flashover, flammable gases may be given off, but are not hot enough to ignite without a spark.
A test similar to NFPA 265 is NFPA 286, "Standard Methods of Fire Tests for Evaluating Contribution of Wall and Ceiling Interior Finish to Room Fire Growth". It was developed to test other wall finishes and is acceptable as an alternative to ASTM E 84 for both the IBC and NFPA 101. NFPA 101, however, permits the use of NFPA 286 as an alternative test method for textiles.
The video below details a typical Corner Burn Test.