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Hidden fire in an aircraft overhead inaccessible-area is hazardous to in-flight safety and could lead to catastrophic disaster. In this case, fire detection at the earliest stage requires an improved understanding of the heat and mass transfer in overhead areas with curved fuselage sections. In this effort, an experimental campaign was conducted at the FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center on different fire scenarios for the Boeing747-SP overhead inaccessible-area to advance knowledge on this phenomenon and provide validation data for the Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS). Extensive work has been done recently to enable computer simulation of fire on complex geometries within this tool. Therefore, we use the experimental data obtained to perform validation of said capability. Model validation results are defined in terms of thermocouple readings measured and computed with satisfactory overall agreement.
The Fuel Tank Flammability Assessment Method (FTFAM) is a Federal Aviation Administration-developed computer model designed as a comparative analysis tool to determine airplane fuel tank flammability as a requirement of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Section 25.981. The model uses Monte Carlo statistical methods to determine the average fuel tank flammability of a fleet of airplanes based upon randomly selecting certain unknown variables over defined distributions for a large number of flights. The FTFAM iterates through each flight, calculating the flammability exposure time of each flight given the data input provided by the user. Calculating this flammability exposure time for a sufficiently large number of flights results in statistically reliable flammability exposure data. These calculations can be performed for fuel tank types utilized in transport airplanes, including body tanks located in the fuselage, wing tanks, and center wing tanks. The program can also be modified by the user to determine fuel tank flammability when a flammability reduction means is employed.
This report serves as a user’s manual for this computer model to assist the user in its operation and to discuss the permissible changes that may be made to this model specific to a particular fleet of aircraft. It is updated through version 11 of the FTFAM. The user should reference Advisory Circular 25.981-2A for additional guidance on when to use this model and for a discussion of interpretation of results.
A physically based microscale combustion parameter for early stage fire growth, called the fire growth capacity (FGC) (J/g-K), is derived from a simple burning model. The FGC combines the ignitability and heat release of the material into a single parameter that can be measured in a microscale combustion calorimeter (MCC) using the standard ASTM D7309 method. The FGC measured at microscale (10^6 kg) in the MCC successfully ranks commercial materials according to their behavior in bench (kg) scale flame (UL 94 V) and fire (14 CFR 25) tests. For this reason, FGC is being evaluated by an aviation industry working group as an alternate means of complying with Federal Aviation Administration fire performance requirements of cabin materials in transport category aircraft when a small component of a certified cabin material must be changed due to cost, availability, performance or environmental concerns. The intent of this report is to validate the proposed methodology and criteria for comparing the components of aircraft cabin materials with respect to flammability. Results for twelve industry case studies were collected and analyzed. In 95% of the cases, the proposed similarity criteria successfully detects a significant change in 14 CFR 25 fire test performance of two materials.
In this study, a burning model is used to link the molecular-level processes of flaming combustion measured in thermal analysis to the fire response of a polymer at the continuum level. A flammability parameter that includes ignitability and burning rate, driven by heat release, emerging from this analysis is called the Fire Growth Capacity (FGC). The FGC was measured in a micro (10-6 kg) scale combustion calorimeter for 30 polymers, and successfully ranked the expected fire performance of these polymers in bench (kg) scale flame and fire tests
The prevalence of lithium batteries on aircraft is a potential safety hazard because of the risk of thermal runaway—a rapid rise in temperature and pressure, and the release of flammable gases. The goal of this study was to create a framework for potential guidelines for a standardized test method for the classification of a lithium battery’s cell hazard due to thermal runaway. Classifying a cell’s hazards due to thermal runaway can help determine appropriate mitigation methods for their use and transport.
Some of the cells were overcharged and other cells were overheated at various heating rates to force thermal runaway. The maximum cell case temperature, cell case temperature at the onset of thermal runaway, and peak percent pressure rise were measured. The thermal runaway vent gases were collected and analyzed for hydrogen, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and hydrocarbon concentrations. The gas and pressure measurements were used to calculate the lower flammability limit (LFL) of the vent gas. The average maximum air-filled volumes that become flammable per cell after thermal runaway were determined and evaluated.
Lithium manganese dioxide (LiMnO2) cylindrical primary cells at 100% state of charge (SOC) of type CR123a 3V 1500mAh were tested. There were differences between the overheat method and the overcharge method. The methods varied by test duration, repeatability, and test results. The overheat method was the quickest and most repeatable method for producing a thermal runaway event. Lithium cobalt oxide (LiCoO₂) cylindrical secondary cells at 30% SOC, of type 18650 3.7V 2600mAh were tested at various heating rates. The results suggest that the heating rate significantly affects an 18650-sized cell’s thermal runaway. Cells heated with a heating rate of less than 12°C/min produced a lesser quantity of vent gas and measured a lower maximum cell case temperature than cells heated with a heating rate of more than 17°C/min. A heating rate between 12°C/min and 17°C/min produced mixed results. LiCoO₂ pouch cells at 30% SOC 3.7V 2500mAh, were also tested at various heating rates. The results suggest that the heating rate moderately affects a pouch cell’s thermal runaway. For every 10 C°/min increase in heating rate, the total vent-gas volume increased by 0.057 L, the percent pressure rise increased by 0.89%, and the concentration of carbon dioxide decreased by 2.3%.