Development of a New Small-Scale Test for Determining the Combustibility of Plastics Used in Semiconductor Tools
Pravinray D. Gandhi, Ph.D., Robert G. Backstrom, and Jane I. Lataille, Underwriters Laboratories (SSA Journal Volume 14 Number 3 - Autumn 2000 pp. 39 - 49 )

Machine tools used in the manufacture of semiconductor chips are constructed using plastic materials that are compatible with the processing solvents and environment. Due to the sensitivity of the manufacturing process to contaminants, these materials also require high fire performance with respect to flame propagation and smoke generation. The ire performance of these plastics is determined by using a large-scale parallel panel test. A small-scale test is also available that correlates to the Parallel Panel test. Since the small-scale test is not based upon a national consensus standard, a research program for developing such a test and correlation to the large-scale Parallel Panel test was sponsored by IRI and supported by the semiconductor industry. In order to identify a candidate small-scale test, the current fire performance requirements were first analyzed. The Cone Calorimeter test apparatus was found to provide the required measurements for predicting the potential for flame propagation and smoke generation. Cone Calorimeter and Parallel Panel tests were then conducted to develop data for nine plastic materials. These materials represent a range of plastics currently used in the manufacture of semiconductor tools. The data were analyzed and correlations of flame propagation and smoke generation were established between the Cone Calorimeter and Parallel Panel tests. A classification method was developed that proves a hierarchy of fire performance.