Flammability and Fire Testing Services For Aircraft Materials

Flammability and fire testing services in aviation help companies evaluate materials, finished products or components during research and development or to meet industry, commercial, or regulatory standards. Aerospace materials for fire testing include textiles, electronics and wiring, cabin materials, thermal acoustical insulation products, insulation blankets and even the aircraft structures themselves are tested for fuselage burnthrough resistance.

Fire testing ISO 2685

Fire resistance and fire proof testing is done in accordance with many various specifications like FAA 14 CFR:part 25. Single and multi-burner configurations and liquid and propane burners are used. Engineers can test samples at 2000°F exposure for five minutes (fire resistance) or fifteen minutes (fire proof), with or without vibration or the addition of fuel, oil, or air. Aero engine compartments and exhaust systems are clearly a source of high temperatures and insulation materials used there are all subjected to rigorous high temperature materials testing. A distinction should be made between in-flight flammability testing and burnthrough post crash fire testing.

Flame resistant panels

Flame-resistant panels made of composite materials, fireproof bulkheads, and/or the zones where fires may possibly break out inside aircraft, must by international law contain the fire such that other zones are not affected. A typical example is the nacelles, containing the engines of modern jets and helicopters. The materials which are used there for containing fires are metal alloys with high thickness or superalloys as in the case of SPF (super plastic forming) titanium. textile testing equipment manufacturers

In the case of conventional metal alloys, aluminium alloys can contain the passage of an 1100°C flame, as per EN ISO 2685 fire testing standards. It has to have very high thickness in order to fulfill the requirements and is therefore heavy. Steel alloys are also used, these too with a weight penalty.

Aluminium alloys will melt at temperatures close to 600°C, whereas steels have much higher melting temperatures. In order to overcome the weight problem, SPF titanium alloy is used, which then has a cost penalty! SPF Ti alloy, in addition to the extremely high cost, has low availability.

Another technique for overcoming the issue is pads of ceramic material or their derivatives applied to the structure for fire containment. Fireproof bulkheads with aluminium oxide coatings can be flame retardant. GRP laminates with aluminium oxide coatings can at least form double curvature surfaces.

One of the problems is that materials conventionally used as locking members or fastening systems, that is, metal alloys, have high thermal conductivity, cancelling the effects of insulation. In aircraft, fire defence remains a still partly unresolved problem, especially in the case of emergency landings or fires during flight.

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