Fire Tests

Test of material properties

With the move to bigger aircraft, the safety regulations developed simultaneously. The first flammability regulations adopted between 1940 and 1960 were applicable to aircraft in the range of 50 to 150 seats. With the increase of aircraft size more and more regulations became effective. This evolution of flammability safety regulations along with general improved and safer aircraft designs led to a significant decrease of the accident rate.

 

In regard to the present empirical-based knowledge and results of standard aeronautical tests on fires, few scientific data are available to develop a fire threat analysis on new risks (increase of avionics, auxiliary power generator (APU), electronic boards, fuel cell, kerosene reformer, air separation unit for inboard nitrogen or oxygen production, ...). But, any technological innovation can be obtained without this deep need of knowledge on the properties of used materials and their behaviour during fire specific conditions. In bibliography, works on new formulations (flame retardant or nano-particle additives in the matrix composed mainly by epoxyresins) show that such composites can increase their fire performance. To quantify and rank the new composite compositions in function of their fireperformances (flammability, thermal, physical, chemical and toxic properties, smoke generation, etc.), the available database in bibliography must be completed in laboratory conditions.

 

Presently, it is admitted that the database on fire properties of materials found on aircraft is incompletely known for major types of composites. The project AircraftFire is also aimed on the measurement of these physical, chemical, mechanical and toxicity properties of materials selected in the project. A database on heat transport, flammability, combustion of anisotropy materials is required as input to numerical simulations of fire ignition, development and consequences applied to real fire scenarios and passenger's survivability.

 

The physical, mechanical and chemical properties, smoke generation and toxicity of a set of relevant composite materials on board new generation of passenger aircraft will be determined for a selection of thermosets, thermoplastics, textile fibres, elastomers, or FMLs (Fire Threat Analysis part). The availability of an updated data base on composite material found in new generation of aircraft presents a great advantage in the evaluation of the fire assessment. This information is required to simulate the fire events and to focus the project AircraftFire to the prevention of aircraft fire and to mitigate its consequences on aircraft control and passenger survivability.

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