Fire safety in space - beyond flammability testing of small samples

Jomaas, Grunde, Torero, Jose L., Eigenbrod, Christian, Niehaus, Justin, Olson, Sandra L., Ferkul, Paul V., Legros, Guillame, Fernandez-Pello, A. Carlos, Cowlard, Adam J., Rouvreau, Sebastien, Smirnov, Nickolay, Fujita, Osamu, T'Ien, James S., Ruff, Gary A. and Urban, David L. (2015) Fire safety in space - beyond flammability testing of small samples. Acta Astronautica, 109 208-216. doi:10.1016/j.actaastro.2014.11.025

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Author Jomaas, Grunde
Torero, Jose L.
Eigenbrod, Christian
Niehaus, Justin
Olson, Sandra L.
Ferkul, Paul V.
Legros, Guillame
Fernandez-Pello, A. Carlos
Cowlard, Adam J.
Rouvreau, Sebastien
Smirnov, Nickolay
Fujita, Osamu
T'Ien, James S.
Ruff, Gary A.
Urban, David L.
Title Fire safety in space - beyond flammability testing of small samples
Journal name Acta Astronautica   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0094-5765
Publication date 2015-04
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.actaastro.2014.11.025
Open Access Status
Volume 109
Start page 208
End page 216
Total pages 9
Place of publication Kidlington, Oxford United Kingdom
Publisher Pergamon Press
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Formatted abstract
An international research team has been assembled to reduce the uncertainty and risk in the design of spacecraft fire safety systems by testing material samples in a series of flight experiments (Saffire 1, 2, and -3) to be conducted in an Orbital Science Corporation Cygnus vehicle after it has undocked from the International Space Station (ISS). The tests will be fully automated with the data downlinked at the conclusion of the test before the Cygnus vehicle re-enters the atmosphere.

The unmanned, pressurized environment in the Saffire experiments allows for the largest sample sizes ever to be tested for material flammability in microgravity, which will be based on the characteristics of flame spread over the surface of the combustible material. Furthermore, the experiments will have a duration that is unmatched in scale compared to earth based microgravity research facilities such as drop towers (about 5 s) and parabolic flights (about 20 s). In contrast to sounding rockets, the experiments offer a much larger volume, and the reduction in the oxygen concentration during the Saffire experiments will be minimal.

The selection of the experimental settings for the first three Saffire experiments has been based on existing knowledge of scenarios that are relevant, yet challenging, for a spacecraft environment. Given that there is always airflow in the space station, all the experiments are conducted with flame spread in either concurrent or opposed flow, though with the flow being stopped in some tests, to simulate the alarm mode environment in the ISS and thereby also to study extinguishment. The materials have been selected based on their known performance in NASA STD-6001Test-1, and with different materials being classified as charring, thermally thin, and thermally thick. Furthermore, materials with non-uniform surfaces will be investigated.
Keyword Flame propagation
Fire safety
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online ahead of print 25 Nov 2014

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Civil Engineering Publications
Official 2015 Collection
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 3 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 3 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Tue, 03 Mar 2015, 00:38:19 EST by System User on behalf of School of Civil Engineering