Safety aboard aircraft is one of the main preoccupations of aircraft manufacturers and airline companies. For 20 years, the threat in aeronautics has decreased, but because the fatality rate on the world fleet has shown little improvement in the last ten years, more efforts are still necessary to reduce the incident/accident rate and increase the passenger and crew survivability despite the anticipated increase of the aeronautic traffic.
For the new generation of aircrafts (A350 or B-787 types), this fire impact must be re-evaluated by considering the increased use of composite materials for hull, wing and structure and fire growth from electrical ignition source required by electronics and avionics equipment.
The objectives of AircraftFire (AcF) are to highlight contributions to
reduce the impact of in-flight (cabin or engine fires) or post-crash
fires on the survivability of people. The need of additional knowledge
is based on upwind academic research in partnership with aeronautical
actors. The new fire hazards are identified; the flammability and
burning properties of materials for fuselage, wing and structure skins,
thermo acoustic insulation, cabin panel materials, cabling, ducting,
carpet and seats are determined to propose new solutions to aircraft
manufacturers, the efficiency of present regulations and protocols are
To achieve these objectives, the project, is experimentally characterising the material properties, validating the experimental academic aeronautical fire scenarios, and numerically simulating the fire growing and passenger evacuation.
The project is built on 5 scientific and technical work packages (WP)
WP1 is focused on the Fire Threat Analysis. A database analysis of aircraft incident/accident caused by fire or causing fire and its effects on aircraft control is performed to identify the major generic fire scenarios and select the composites used in new generation of aircrafts.
WP2 is aimed on Fire prevention. The database on the flammability, burning, smoke formation and toxicity properties of composites are determined for modelling and predicting the fire threat.
WP3, which is focused on Fire Protection, experimentally characterizes and models the main academic scenarios of in-flight and post-crash fires. The fire behaviour is reproduced at laboratory scale in configurations representative of real scenarios. Detection and suppression technologies are perceived to be mature and operating in an optimal manner, but, new advanced sensors, by including new multi-criteria on flame emission and detection on other combustion related species must enhance the immunity of false alarms by the fusion of multiple detection data.
WP4 will simulate the fire growth and evacuation which is the key part of the project. The simulations should optimise the aircraft design and the crew training. The fire modelling will be based on material flammability properties obtained in WP2 and the fire behaviour observed in WP3.
Finally, WP5 provides a synthesis of the results for an aircraft fire safety improvement. It will integrate all the experimental and numerical results, and transfer the findings and conclusions to the aircraft designer and aviation authorities to provide decision support for the choice of materials based on their mechanical, flammability, burning and toxicity properties.
|FSEG’s Role in AircraftFire
The role of FSEG is primarily in WP4 where we will be undertaking
full-scale fire modelling using the SMARTFIRE CFD fire simulation and
coupling this to the airEXODUS aircraft evacuation simulation software.
As part of this work, the SMARTFIRE fire simulation software will be
enhanced to include an improved pool fire model (taking into account the
impact of wind) and a method developed to represent fuselage
A summary of the project can be found by clicking
The official project web site can be found by clicking here
|Prof. Ed Galea
Fire Safety Engineering Group
University of Greenwich
Greenwich Maritime Campus
Old Royal Naval College
Queen Mary Building
Greenwich SE10 9LS
Tel: +44 (020) 8331 8730