Cabin & Fire Safety Reports Search
|Title:||Thermal Acoustic Insulation Contamination Research|
|Author:||R.G.W. Cherry & Associates Limited|
This report summarizes the research work carried out on behalf of Transport Canada and the UK Civil Aviation Authority into the potential threat that might exist from contaminated thermal acoustic insulation materials). The research has been conducted in the light of related activities carried out by the industry which are also described or referenced in this report. The study is based on data analysis, literature searches, aircraft surveys, consultation with the industry, and flammability testing carried out on a test rig developed especially for this study.
This report addresses the nature of contaminants found on thermal acoustic insulation on in-service airplanes, the potential fire threat that they might present, and the actions taken by the industry to mitigate these threats. The report also makes ten recommendations aimed at improving the resistance of the airplane to hidden fires that might be fueled by contaminants.
|Title:||A Study on the Quality Control Process of Fire Extinguishing and Suppression Agents|
|Author:||R.G.W. Cherry & Associates Limited|
Inadequate quality control of fire extinguishing and suppression agents may affect airworthiness through a reduction in fire protection capability, or pose a hazard to personnel where contaminated extingusihants are toxic.
Transport Canada, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority requested a study be carried out to review the processes used in North America and Europe for the quality control of agents in fire extinguishers and fire suppression systems. This report reflects the outcome of the study and contains recommendations for optimized processes for consideration by the airworthiness authorities and industry.
|Title:||Development of a Laboratory-Scale Flammability Test for Magnesium Alloys Used in Aircraft Seat Construction|
|Author:||Timothy R. Marker|
This report summarizes the research effort undertaken by the Federal Aviation Administration to develop a laboratory-scale flammability test for magnesium alloys used in the fabrication of aircraft seat structure. During the initial phase, a laboratory-scale test rig was constructed to allow flame exposure to various magnesium alloy bars as they were suspended over a small steel pan. An oil-fired burner configured in accordance with Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 25.853(c) Appendix F Part II was used to simulate the fire. Test samples representing a variety of magnesium alloy combinations were evaluated, including two new-generation alloys containing rare earth elements. The test samples were subjected to the burner flames for various durations. In most cases, the alloys melted, depositing pieces of molten material into the catch pan below. Subsequent to the melting event, the materials would typically ignite, emitting an intense light during ignition. Measurements were made of the flaming duration and the amount of material consumed during each test. From the initial tests, it was determined that several rare-earth-containing alloys showed increased flammability resistance when compared to a legacy magnesium alloy, such as AZ31. Two new generation alloy materials, Elektron®WE43 and Elektron®21, self-extinguished shortly after removing the fire source. By comparison, the AZ31 magnesium alloy configurations did not self-extinguish and continued to burn, sometimes until completely consumed.
Subsequent full-scale tests were conducted with a large external fuel fire adjacent to an aircraft fuselage, simulating a severe, but survivable, accident in which the fire entered the cabin through a simulated fuselage rupture. The tests determined that no significant change to survivability (based on the survivability model) resulted when using seat frames constructed of the new generation WE43 magnesium alloy in the primary components, when compared to identical tests in which the standard aluminum alloys were used. The primary seat frame components included the legs, the cross tubes, and the spreaders. Two types of magnesium alloys were used in separate tests: a well-performing alloy (WE43) and a poor-performing alloy (AZ31).
During the final phase of work, a flammability test for magnesium alloys was developed based on the findings of the realistic full-scale tests. The intent was to expose an appropriately-sized test sample to the flames of an oil-fired burner for a period of time that allowed the test sample to melt, as initial tests had indicated the magnesium alloys would not ignite until melting had occurred. Numerous test sample shapes, sizes, and exposure levels were trialed in an effort to replicate the outcome of the full-scale tests, namely, the amount of time required to melt and ignite a sample and the approximate amount of time required for the sample to self-extinguish. The final configuration used a 0.25-inch-thick by 1.5-inch-wide by 20-inch-long horizontally-oriented bar test sample that was exposed to the oil burner for a period of 4 minutes. A passing sample is not permitted to ignite prior to 2 minutes and must also self-extinguish within 3 minutes of the burner being turned off (7 minutes from the start of the test). In addition, the sample must not lose more than 10% of its initial weight.