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Development of Fire Test for Aircraft Seat Cushions

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This presentation details the development of the FAA's laboratory test for aircraft seat cushions, including procedure, criteria, and methods of testing.

This presentation details the development of the FAA's laboratory test for aircraft seat cushions, including procedure, criteria, and methods of testing.

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  • 1. Consumer Product Safety Commission MeetingRockville, MD, April 25, 2013Federal AviationAdministrationRichard E. LyonManager, FAA Fire ResearchWilliam J. Hughes Technical CenterAtlantic City International Airport, NJDevelopment of a FireTest for Aircraft SeatCushions
  • 2. 2Federal AviationAdministrationDevelopment of FAA Fire Test for Seat CushionsCPSC Meeting, April 25, 2013Development of a Fire Test forAircraft Seat Cushions• Result of fatal post-crash fires.• Work performed in early 1980s at new full scale testfacility at FAA Tech Center.• Rule implemented 1984-1987 required retrofit of650,000 aircraft seats with fire blocking layers.• First fire regulation that went beyond a simple Bunsenburner test (i.e., FR foam).
  • 3. 3Federal AviationAdministrationDevelopment of FAA Fire Test for Seat CushionsCPSC Meeting, April 25, 2013Example of Post-Crash FireDC10, JFK, 1976, bird strike
  • 4. 4Federal AviationAdministrationDevelopment of FAA Fire Test for Seat CushionsCPSC Meeting, April 25, 2013Example of a Post-Crash FireDC10, LAX, 1978, tire failure
  • 5. 5Federal AviationAdministrationDevelopment of FAA Fire Test for Seat CushionsCPSC Meeting, April 25, 2013Post-Crash Fire Simulation in Full Scale IndoorFire Test Facility at FAA
  • 6. 6Federal AviationAdministrationDevelopment of FAA Fire Test for Seat CushionsCPSC Meeting, April 25, 2013Full Scale Cabin Mockup
  • 7. 7Federal AviationAdministrationDevelopment of FAA Fire Test for Seat CushionsCPSC Meeting, April 25, 2013
  • 8. 8Federal AviationAdministrationDevelopment of FAA Fire Test for Seat CushionsCPSC Meeting, April 25, 2013Ignition Source by Fire Scenario
  • 9. 9Federal AviationAdministrationDevelopment of FAA Fire Test for Seat CushionsCPSC Meeting, April 25, 2013For Small Ignition Source > Cigarette,FR Foam Alone was IneffectiveNo BlockerFR FoamFoam Fire Blocker Fabric Fire BlockerSeat Cushion ConstructionFR Foam PU Foam PU FoamFR FoamFor Fire Blocked Seats FR Foam was Unnecessary
  • 10. 10Federal AviationAdministrationDevelopment of FAA Fire Test for Seat CushionsCPSC Meeting, April 25, 2013StandardNFR Seating
  • 11. 11Federal AviationAdministrationDevelopment of FAA Fire Test for Seat CushionsCPSC Meeting, April 25, 2013No Fire Blocker Fire BlockerEffectiveness of Fire Blocking Layerat 2 minutes into test
  • 12. 12Federal AviationAdministrationDevelopment of FAA Fire Test for Seat CushionsCPSC Meeting, April 25, 2013Q(W ) =dHdt∝′′q A(t) = ′′q L2(t) = ′′q (L0 +v t)2Heat releaserate (W/m2)Burning Area, A = L2Flame spreadvelocityRelease rate of energyand combustionproductsCumulative FireHazard≡∆H = ′′q (L0 +vτ)2dτ0t∫ ≈αt exp βt2[ ]α ∝ Q0 = Initial combustion rateβ ∝ (v0/L0)2= (Initial flame spread rate)2Initial heated length, L0Regulationaddresses these2 fire responseparametersSimple Compartment Fire Growth Model
  • 13. 13Federal AviationAdministrationDevelopment of FAA Fire Test for Seat CushionsCPSC Meeting, April 25, 2013Fire-blocking Foams or Fabrics Provide an AdditionalMinute of Escape Time in a Post Crash Fire00.20.40.60.810 50 100 150 200 250Unprotected CushionFabric FireBlocking LayerFoam FireBlocking LayerNoncombustibleFoamFractionalEffectiveDoseElapsed Time, Seconds+ 1 minuteOriginal Escape TimeFull scale test dataFire growth model(best fit)
  • 14. 14Federal AviationAdministrationDevelopment of FAA Fire Test for Seat CushionsCPSC Meeting, April 25, 201310-510-410-3160 180 200 220 240 260BestFitCabinFireModelParametersCabin Escape Time, secondsCombustion (mass loss) rate parameter, αSurface flame spread parameter, βEscape Time in a Post Crash Fire is Very Sensitive toCombustion (Mass Loss) Rate Parameter…. Because cover fabric issimilar for all tests
  • 15. 15Federal AviationAdministrationDevelopment of FAA Fire Test for Seat CushionsCPSC Meeting, April 25, 2013Development of a Laboratory Testfor Aircraft Seat CushionsWelded Steel Test Frame on Load Cell 2-min Exposure to Oil Burner
  • 16. 16Federal AviationAdministrationDevelopment of FAA Fire Test for Seat CushionsCPSC Meeting, April 25, 2013Examples ofResidential OilBurnersThe FAA used modifiedhome heating oil burnersto simulate the effects of apost-crash fire on aircraftseating in a laboratory(controlled) testLennox OB-32Carlin 200 CRDPark DPL 3400
  • 17. 17Federal AviationAdministrationDevelopment of FAA Fire Test for Seat CushionsCPSC Meeting, April 25, 2013Test Specimens• A sample set consists of– one seat bottom (horizontal)• 18” x 20” x 4”– one seat back (vertical)• 18” x 25” x 2”• A minimum of 3 sample sets will be tested• Each specimen will be constructed of theprincipal components and assembly of theproduction seat cushion– Foam core– Flotation material– Fire block material– Dress covering– Seams• Weakest point of cushion will be exposeddirectly to burner flame• Specimens will be conditioned for aminimum of 24 hours before testing.
  • 18. 18Federal AviationAdministrationDevelopment of FAA Fire Test for Seat CushionsCPSC Meeting, April 25, 2013Specimen Frame• Frame constructed of 1”x1”x1/8”angle steel• Back and bottom support strapsconstructed of 1”x1/8” steel flatstock• Frame is welded together
  • 19. 19Federal AviationAdministrationDevelopment of FAA Fire Test for Seat CushionsCPSC Meeting, April 25, 2013Test Procedure• Record weight of each component (back and bottomcushion) to the nearest 0.02 pound.• Align seat frame with cushion according to Chapter 7• Position seat away from burner flame, fire burner for 2minutes to warm up• Position the seat in front of burner flame at 2 minutesand expose for an additional 2 minutes, then turn off theburner• The test is over when the seat cushion has selfextinguished OR after 5 minutes from burner shut-off• Record the final weight at test termination andextinguish gently if necessary• Measure burn lengths on top, bottom, back and front ofeach component• A sample set of 3 tests will be run for each cushionconfiguration• A wire may be used to restrain the back cushion to theframe as long as the wire does not impede or redirectthe flame
  • 20. 20Federal AviationAdministrationDevelopment of FAA Fire Test for Seat CushionsCPSC Meeting, April 25, 2013Burner AlignmentTop ViewFront View
  • 21. 21Federal AviationAdministrationDevelopment of FAA Fire Test for Seat CushionsCPSC Meeting, April 25, 2013Test CriteriaThe average burn length maynot exceed 17 inches in anydirection, and 2 out of the 3samples tested must notexceed 17 inchesminitial −mfinal( )minitial×100 < 10%Burn Length <17 inches• The mass loss is measured foreach test.• The average mass loss of the 3tests run can not exceed 10%of the starting weight.• 2/3 of tests < 10% BurnerLimit CombustiblesLimit Flame Spread
  • 22. 22Federal AviationAdministrationDevelopment of FAA Fire Test for Seat CushionsCPSC Meeting, April 25, 2013Current Methods of Meeting FAAFlammability Requirement• Expandable graphite• Melamine• Polychloroprene• Etc.Non-woven felts w/ scrim• Aramid fiber• PBI fiber• Panox fiber• Phenolic fiberCombustion Modified FoamFR Foam w/ Fire BlockingLayer
  • 23. 23Federal AviationAdministrationDevelopment of FAA Fire Test for Seat CushionsCPSC Meeting, April 25, 2013Inter-laboratory Study (6 labs x 3 seats)CriterionBurn Length(flame spread)Mass Loss(Combustibles)Repeatability(Average within-lab variation)Reproducibility(Average between-lab variation)14% 13%8% 7%
  • 24. 24Federal AviationAdministrationDevelopment of FAA Fire Test for Seat CushionsCPSC Meeting, April 25, 2013Advisory Material: Seat Cushion Test• AC 25.853-1 - FlammabilityRequirements for AircraftSeat Cushions• Gives advice on test conduct,sample preparation, burnercalibration, etc.
  • 25. 25Federal AviationAdministrationDevelopment of FAA Fire Test for Seat CushionsCPSC Meeting, April 25, 2013*Fire Test Handbook, DOT/FAA/AR-00/12April 2000• This test method evaluatesthe burn resistance andweight loss characteristics ofaircraft seat cushions whenexposed to a high-intensityopen flame to showcompliance to therequirements of FAR 25.853.• Test Parameters:– Burn Length– % Mass Loss*companion document to FAR 25.853, Appendix F
  • 26. 26Federal AviationAdministrationDevelopment of FAA Fire Test for Seat CushionsCPSC Meeting, April 25, 2013Recent Work at FAA to Standardize Oil BurnerSonic Nozzle @ 2.0 gal/hour
  • 27. 27Federal AviationAdministrationDevelopment of FAA Fire Test for Seat CushionsCPSC Meeting, April 25, 2013NexGen Burner Design
  • 28. 28Federal AviationAdministrationFAA Oil Burner Test for Seat CushionsACO Seminar, April 2013Comparison of Sonic Vs. Park BurnerSeat Burner Comparison0.00%1.00%2.00%3.00%4.00%5.00%6.00%7.00%8.00%9.00%10.00%AirFlex Fireblock DaxCushion TypeWeightLossPercentageParkSonic 0¡ Trial 1Sonic 0¡ Trial 23 of each cushion type tested per trialCombustion ModifiedFoam ACombustion ModifiedFoam BFire BlockingFabric