290206 Effect of Varying Spacecraft Environments On Flammability

Monday, October 29, 2012
Hall B (Convention Center )
Debera Hsiao, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA

For centuries, outer space has never failed to fascinate humankind. Generations of men and women have found ways to explore and try to understand the vast expanse of space that engulfs our universe. By far the most dangerous method of exploration is sending persons into space. The greatest challenge to any manned mission is the safety of the astronauts traveling into space. Amongst the many obstacles to safety, one of the deadliest is the presence of a fire because its potential catastrophic results. The probability of a fire in a spacecraft is enhanced due to confined space, elevated oxygen concentrations, the low pressure, low flow velocities, and micro gravity. Therefore, it is crucial that the flammability characteristics of non-fire resistant and fire resistant materials used in spacecrafts are well-known. Current research aims to create flammability boundaries for these fabrics and has found that flammability increases as pressure decreases or as external radiant heat flux increases.

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