Flame Test

Last modified by Hypno Harem on 2022/07/19 19:21

A flame test involves burning a small piece of material and using the color of the flame and burn characteristics to identify the type of material. This type of test is adapted from identification process flow charts like the below:

Image shows a flow charts for identifying materials using a flame test

Charts like this are very useful to help narrow down materials for applications such as finding a compatible adhesive; but the simpler version often used for toys suffers from five main problems:

  1. The silicones used in indie toy manufacturing are very soft silicones with different burn characteristics than their firmer cousins which these charts were made for. Notably, many times very soft silicones will self extinguish
  2. There are several types of silicones with different burn characteristics and even smells depending on their chemistry
  3. Indie toys can have many different types of pigments added into them which can change the observed burn characteristics
  4. If it is believed a material is NOT silicone, then the chart should be used to attempt to positively identify what material it actually is as further confirmation. However, common flame testing for toys often eschews this step
  5. Flame testing is highly subjective and most people haven't burned the dozens of samples it takes to get a feel for what a positive or negative result looks like

Goblin Note: Flame testing doesn't *not* work. It just doesn't work the way many people think it does, since they don't have a point of reference. If you want a point of reference so you can get more reliable results; try comparing how some cup scraps hold up when compared against a firm silicone kitchen utensil.