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Fire & Explosions Essay

1142 words - 5 pages

Introduction:
The fact that commercial aircrafts are highly complicated engineering systems, combined with their mission to transport crew and passengers to their destinations safely and with comfort, suggest that significant measures and precautions must be taken by designers to ensure the achievement of this goal. It is an aircraft’s inherent complexity that gives rise to all kinds of issues concerning what parameters could be established at a given time that would lead to an accident and possible fatalities.
Although there are regulations and legislation in place and all involved parties of the aviation industry try to reinforce the existent safety measures and procedures as well as ...view middle of the document...

It is worth noting that according to the ICAO carbon dioxide emissions calculator, for a flight of approximately 2,500 km, an aircraft would need a little less than 13 tn of fuel. Taking into consideration that aircrafts always carry more fuel than needed for their planned journey for security reasons (Penner, 1999), one can understand that the amount of flammable liquid on board is more than significant.
Of course apart from the onboard fuel, other materials such as hydraulic fluids, cooling fluids, high temperature gases (produced in combustion chamber of the engine), seat finishes and fabrics, wall panels and others may be the point of initiation of a fire, or may assist in its propagation. All materials used in aircrafts are subject to fireproof testing and must comply with the regulations stated in the FAA Federal Aviation Regulations Part 25.851 - Part 25.869 in order to ensure minimum risks in the event of a fire (FAA website). This part of the FAA Regulations includes guidelines for fire detection and suppression systems on various compartments of an aircraft.
The second side of the fire triangle is occupied by the oxidizer. In most cases, the oxidizer is oxygen provided by the surrounding atmospheric air. In the case of an aircraft, oxygen can easily reach any of its compartments. In order for the cabin environment to be survivable for the passengers in high altitudes, the aircraft’s engines are responsible to guide air from the atmosphere into the cabin. This process though is not direct, as compressor bleed air (air taken from one of compressor’s stages) which is of high pressure and temperature has to be cooled before entering the passenger compartment (Larson, 2002). This is not only true for high altitudes, as while on the ground, the aircraft needs to provide the passengers with cooling or heating air, depending on the weather conditions. In addition, as most of the parts of the jet engines operate in high temperatures, air is also needed to keep its components within safe operating limits (e.g. the avionics bay or the high pressure turbine blades). Another source of oxygen is the one supplying the oxygen masks on board. There are two types of systems responsible for that: the gaseous manifold system, which provides oxygen to each mask individually from a central oxygen supply (usually in the cargo area), and the chemical oxygen generator...

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