jetliner fire

Model Optimizes Aircraft Cargo Compartment Fire Systems

A paper published this month in Fire Safety Journal describes a computational fluid dynamics computer model that has been validated as a way to predict smoke, heat, and gases produced by fires in aircraft cargo compartments of various shapes and sizes. The model, validated against full-scale fire tests in actual compartments, can lead to better and less costly designs because the Federal Aviation Administration and other regulatory agencies require cargo compartments of passenger aircraft to be equipped with fire detection and suppression systems that must alarm within one minute of the start of a fire, and flight tests are required to demonstrate compliance with these regulations.

David Blake of FAA's William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, N.J., and Jill Suo-Anttila of Fire and Aerosol Sciences at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque are the paper's authors.

"Ideally, such a physics-based simulation tool can be used during the certification process to identify worst case locations for fires, optimum placement of detector sensors within the cargo compartment, and sensor alarm levels and algorithms needed to achieve detection within the required time," the authors state.

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