Although these materials have passed the certification tests, it is necessary to study and assess fire risks for relevant areas, specific zones of the aircraft and the entire aircraft. Existing and validated simulation tools will be adapted in the project. Today the simulation of fire propagation and evacuation in aeronautics suffers from lacking data of material properties and fire behaviour. Relevant data necessary for the proposed advanced simulation as far as not available will be gained by experiments.
Beside the provision of physical and chemical data a sound analysis of existing data bases maintained by aviation authority, airline and aircraft manufacturer in order to identify and classify the relevant fire related scenarios for in-flight and post-crash fires will provide the second basis for the improved simulation.
The project will analyze the sensing capacities and deployment of the relevant sensors aboard aircraft and make use of advanced sensor data fusion to increase the overall performances. This together with the results of the simulation of fire propagation will allow recommending improvements for the aircraft operation in case of fire related incidents. Together with the result of the advanced evacuation simulation the results of the project will directly influence the design of the next generation of aircraft with respect to fire prevention and fire management.
The consortium composed of aircraft manufacturer, aviation authority, research establishments and universities will undertake the necessary efforts to make the gained knowledge available to all relevant parties to achieve the project objectives.
PROJECT GOALS:Increase the passenger and crew survivability during in-flight and post-crash fires
Fire threat analysis:
• Analysis of aircraft incident/accident caused by fire or causing fire and its consequences on aircraft control, safe landing and passenger's survivability
• Identification of generic fire scenarios
• Selection of standard composites widely used in new generation of aircraft
• Determination of the composite material fire properties (flammability, ignition, smoke generation, combustion mechanisms, toxicity...) used for new generation of aircraft required to model fire and to prevent aircraft fire threats
• Providing a numerical modelling (fire ignition, growth, smoke generation and motion, ..) of simplified fire configurations representative of real scenarios using the material property data previously determined
• Evaluation of fire detection and extinction systems to protect the aircraft in studied fire configurations
Fire simulation tools:
• Elaboration of a full scale modelling of fire evolution in the aircraft. This modelling requires, as input, the material properties and the knowledge of the fire behaviour obtained by the results of the modelling of generic scenarios
• Development of a numerical evacuation model.
• Synthesis of the experimental and numerical results
• Transfer of the conclusions to the fire and evacuation simulation software
• Aircraft fire safety improvement in civil aviation
The project coordinator has the responsibility to oversee the flow of information, to further encourage an animated communication and to take steps if difficulties arise. For that, the work plan has achieved an open and active communication strategy, which has been proved to be very successful. Upon request of the coordinator and the GB, UI and Airbus accepted to keep in view the global scientific coherence and applicability of the AcF tasks during the project. Finally, to optimise the scientific exchange on specified topics, thematic subgroups meet to overcome scientific and technical difficulties for the benefit of the project.
At the beginning of the project the repartition and the coordination of researches was précised. Then the project was focused on the definition of tasks in terms of selection of fire scenarios, and flammability and burning property of materials. In particular, it has been defined the generic aircraft fire scenarios to study, the composites and cabin materials to characterise, the aircraft mapping to consider for fire growth and evacuation numerical simulation, and the tools to transform research results into industrial innovation. In this context great attention was given to impose identical experimental protocols for characterisation by laboratories, description of fire behaviour and numerical techniques in agreement with the requirement of downstream safety applications.
The provision of the identified relevant materials formed a real obstacle for the project and its finance.
Due to this complication of the delivery of composites for fuselage, wing, structure and cowling, and of the identification of cabin material providers, the experimental study of materials got a delay of nearly 6 months. During this time preliminary tests on a well-known polymer (PMMA) were performed to calibrate the apparatus, harmonise the experimental protocols between laboratories (Round Robin tests for cone calorimeter and TGA) and to evaluate the efficiency of apparatus (FTIR, DSC, Tube Furnace, Smoke characterisation system, detection sensor). Most of these tests are finished and results are discussed.
The experimental setups to determine the burning behaviour of composite and cabin materials were designed, in agreement with the chosen scenarios. Specific and original setups were realised to study the effect of pressure, mass fraction of oxygen, loading, containment (hidden zone) on the burning rate of aircraft materials. After the supply of cabin and composite materials the AcF material characterisation was started. Some experimental setups are still under evaluation but will be operating soon.
The numerical works, pool fire simulation, fire growth and evacuation modelling has been prepared for the integration of experimental measurements of flammability data and fire behaviour. Simulations have been run and first numerical results are available.
To optimise the acquired information, contacts are periodically made between experimenters and modellers to insert more accurate input data into the software, and to adjust the working parameters for the laboratory scale fire configuration tests from numerical calculations.
Before disseminating AcF findings such as the database on flammability, burning, smoke, toxicity properties of the materials and evacuation modelling the results are always discussed between the partners, particularly with Airbus and EADS.
From the innovation part of the project will be the main focus to give an added value to European aircraft manufacturers, regulators and equipment suppliers.
AIRCRAFTFIRE will mainly:
- evaluate the new fire threat induced by the massive use of composites in aeronautics;
- provide flammability, toxicity and burning properties of the relevant materials required for modelling;
- evaluate the efficiency of new multi-criteria fire detectors and suppression systems to fight fire and reduce false alarms;
- provide a numerical tool for predicting fire growth and passenger evacuation.
By that the experimental and numerical approach of AIRCRAFTFIRE will provide aircraft designers and manufacturers, and airlines companies, with knowledge and tools to reduce the fire threat to the passenger survivability during in-flight or post-crash fires.
Aircraft manufacturers and material suppliers will get through AIRCRAFTFIRE a holistic view on the fire behaviour and the performance of materials used in the next generation of aircraft. From the simulation results can be seen the where and which material or construction properties have to be improved to better suppress the development of fires and to enhance the possibilities of survival for passengers. The developed simulation tools will be used to improve the training of fire fighters, crew members and pilots. The simulations will help them to enhance the understanding of fire growth and passenger evacuation including human behaviour. The experimental setup and testing procedures will help to consider the relevance of the standard test regulations for the new materials, the composite materials.
Regulators such as FAA and EASA are well aware of the implications the new materials have for the fire safety aboard aircraft. The experimental results of AIRCRAFTFIRE are in difference to the certification standard tests not targeted to proof that materials pass or fail the standard test criteria but to identify physical and chemical properties of materials and to put them in to context with the mechanisms of fire ignition and fire growth. The findings will help in first instance the regulators to improve the pass/fail tests by better reference to the physics behind. The second impact related to regulation is that through better knowledge of material behaviour and fire mechanisms at the hand prediction of material behaviour can be improved and on the other hand cheaper and easier tests methodologies for example with smaller specimen can be used either in preparation to certification tests or even during certification tests.
The results of AIRCRAFTFIRE will help to underline that air transport is one of the safest transport means available also in the public perception and help to bridge the requirements from greening air transport and the requirements of passenger safety.
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This innovation is the result of the project
Title: Fire Risks Assessment And Increase Of Passenger Survivability
Organisations and people involved in this eco-innovation.
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CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE
Role in project: Project Coordination
Contact person: Mr. SOULLIE Patrice
AIRBUS OPERATIONS SAS
Contact person: Mr. PICOT Thierry
CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY
Contact person: Mr. GREENE Richard Graham
EADS DEUTSCHLAND GMBH
Contact person: Mr. LANG Werner
FRAUNHOFER-GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FOERDERUNG DER ANGEWANDTEN FORSCHUNG E.V
Contact person: Ms. ZEUMANN Andrea
Contact person: Dr. KRISTJANSDOTTIR Greta Bjork
INSTITUT NATIONAL DES SCIENCES APPLIQUEES DE ROUEN
Contact person: Dr. COURMONTAGNE Nora
TECHNISCHE UNIVERSITEIT DELFT
Contact person: Mr. HOEKSTRA Martin
THE UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH
Contact person: Ms. NOBLE Angela
UNIVERSITY OF GREENWICH
Contact person: Prof. GALEA Edwin
UNIVERSITY OF PATRAS
Contact person: Prof. PANIDIS Thrassos
UNIVERSITY OF ULSTER
Contact person: Dr. PATTON Anne-Marie