Efectis has received a special research request from confectionery manufacturer Perfetti Van Melle relating to a new way of storing some of its stock. From now on, at its factory in Breda, the Netherlands, the company wants to store its Mentos products separately in stainless steel containers in the warehouse, rather than pack them straight away. Efectis has been asked to test what would happen if 650 kilograms of unpackaged Mentos caught fire in such a container.
As well as temporarily storing the candy in containers after production and packing it at a later date, Perfetti Van Melle plans to store the products in a fire-safe manner. To determine which sprinkler system is the safest for this purpose, they wanted to find out about the fire behaviour of Mentos.
The candy produced at Perfetti Van Melle in Breda is shipped all over the world. “That includes Mentos, which is available in a large number of different flavours. Mint is the basis of almost all the variants, but to see whether the addition of extra second flavour to a product affects the reaction to fire, we tested Mentos Lemon as well as Mentos Mint.” To demonstrate the fire behaviour of Mentos, it was necessary to investigate how much energy is released during a fire and what that does to the container in which the Mentos candies are stored.
Efectis decided to test in two ways. We powdered half a gram of Mentos and determined how many megajoules of energy are released when testing according to EN ISO 1716. Based on these figures, we were able to calculate the energy per kilogram of Mentos. This allows Perfetti Van Melle to tailor a sprinkler system to the flammability of the products they store and to make agreements with their insurance company. However, this test method does not yet provide any insight into the speed at which the material catches fire and the energy develops. That is why we carried out a second test by exposing a stainless steel container containing Mentos to a heat source according to ISO 5660-1 and seeing how long it takes for the contents to catch fire.
Both tests are fairly new. Efectis is officially accredited for these test methods and works in partnership with manufacturers such as Perfetti Van Melle. We carry out most fire tests on sheet and insulation materials, but the storage of products is increasingly having to meet European and even global requirements. We can carry out the assessment processes required for this here in our lab. For example, we have already tested decorations, including garlands, for a manufacturer.