Under fault or overload conditions, component systems or individual plastic parts may reach temperatures which causes them to deform, melt, or possibly ignite. Consideration must also be given to whether adjoining materials could aggravate these conditions or be ignited by a failing plastic material.

To limit failure consequences, compliance agencies have established performance criteria that can be used during material selection and part design.

The burning behavior of plastics is not just a material characteristic. Part design and nominal wall thickness are key factors in flammability certification.