In the Pensky–Martens closed-cup flash-point test, a brass test cup is filled with a test specimen and fitted with a cover. The sample is heated and stirred at specified rates depending on the material that is being tested. An ignition source is directed into the cup at regular intervals with simultaneous interruption of stirring until a flash that spreads throughout the inside of the cup is seen. The corresponding temperature is its flash point.
Pensky–Martens closed cup is sealed with a lid through which the ignition source can be introduced periodically. The vapour above the liquid is assumed to be in reasonable equilibrium with the liquid. Closed cup testers give lower values for the flashpoint than open-cup testers(typically 5–10 K) and are a better approximation to the temperature at which the vapour pressure reaches the "lower flammable limit" (LFL).