Flame Test Videos

Splash and Flammability Tests on Grainger Lab Aprons/Coats


  • Kathy McNamara (Chem 100/102 lab coordinator)
  • Erick Covarrubias (Grainger campus sales rep)
  • Andy Cooksy (Chemistry Safety Committee)

Erick brought 4 samples of lab apron and 1 sample of lab coat (they only carry the one model). The samples were:

catalog #
cost description
3BU46 $5.28 green apron, ties a hassle to work out first time
5T474 $16.36 gray Silver Shield apron, like a garbage bag, advertized as chemical resistant
3XE79 $19.05 green apron, adjustable bracket on neck strap, long ties more convenient than 3BU46 and 5T474, advertized as flame resistant
1N872 $8.88 yellow PVC/nylon apron, also ties relatively easily.
4EJV4 $19.99 white Medline lab coat, 80/20% polyester/cotton, not advertized as flame resistant

For each test, the sample was draped over a PVC bar attached to a ring stand in the hood, so the samples were roughly vertical. Results of the tests were captured on video. The flame test videos have been mounted to YouTube.com and are linked from our safety webpage.

Test #1 Chemicals


First we tested each sample with six liquids, in the following order: methanol, acetone, hexane, THF, methylene chloride, and concentrated sulfuric acid. For the first five (the solvents), the sample was sprayed in a short burst from a spray bottle, depositing roughly 2-4 ml. The sulfuric acid was poured from a small beaker onto the sample. Each target was shifted about 5cm to the left (facing the hood) from the previous target so that effects observed would be due to individual solvents. Observations were made after 2-4 minutes for each sample.


All four aprons were essentially unaffected by the chemicals. Minor streaking -- perhaps just solvation of the dye -- was observed for 3BU46 (with acetone, THF, methylene chloride), 3XE79 (with hexane), and 1N872 (with THF). No effect was observed on any apron with methanol or sulfuric acid.

Unlike the plastic aprons, the lab coat is a weave, so the liquids can leak through to the other side, although no damage was observed

Test #2 Flammability


A lit bunsen burner was placed under each sample for up to 40 sec. the burner was removed sooner if the sample appeared to be sustaining the fire.


  • 3BU46 Ignites instantly with the burner present. The material closest to the burner chars or melts (but does not drip) and a hole appears. The flame on the meterial self-extinguishes after about 20 sec. Roughly 30 sq cm consumed or melted.
  • 5T474 Ignites instantly and melts in drops onto the counter. Flame itself is not self-sustaining. Deemed unacceptable for any lab that may use flames.
  • 3XE79 Ignites after about 5 sec with the flame present. Some melting and charring but less than with 3BU46 (no holes develop). Flame on material self-extinguishes after 5 sec of additional burning. About 15 sq cm damage at the end of the test.
  • 1N872 Remarkable resilience. Only the edge (perhaps the stitching) ignites and after 20 sec the material stops burning. The apron is virtually unharmed at the end of the test.
  • 4EJV4 Ignites within 5 sec and flames are self-sustaining within 10 sec. The sleeve burns and melts, with burning material falling to the counter. Test ended by fire extinguisher after about 20 sec.