Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Results of Full-Scale Fire Tests With Photoelectric Smoke Detectors. Final Report.



Richard W. Bukowski, R G. Bright


In February 1974, a series of full-scale fire tests were conducted to determine whether photoelectric-type smoke detectors could response to the same types of fires used to assess the performance of ionization-type smoke detectors. The types of fires employes in the tests are the same as those outlined in Underwriters' Laboratories, Inc., Standard No. 167. In addition to the UL-167 standard fires, fires involving polyurethane (flaming mode) and cotton (smoldering mode) were added to the test series. One detector, utilizing a taguchi gas sensor (TGS), was included in the test series for evaluation purposes. The test results indicated that the better photoelectric smoke detectors, i.e., those having little obstruction to slow-moving smoke can, in general, detect the same test fires as the ionization chamber smoke detectors in aproximately the same time scale. For the smoldering cotton fire, the photoelectric detectors were significantly faster than the ionization chamber detectors. The TGS fire detector was unable to detect most of the test fires.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) -


fire detectors, ionization chamber detectors, photoelectric detectors, smoke detectors, taguchi gas sensor (trademark)


Bukowski, R. and Bright, R. (1975), Results of Full-Scale Fire Tests With Photoelectric Smoke Detectors. Final Report., NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed June 22, 2024)


If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact

Created June 1, 1975, Updated February 19, 2017