A Research Program in Crash-Induced Fire Safety 2004-01-0475
The research reported in this paper is a follow-on to a five year research program conducted by General Motors in accordance with an administrative Settlement Agreement reached with the US Department of Transportation. In a subsequent Judicial Settlement, GM agreed fund more than $4.1 million in fire related research over the period 2001-2004. The purpose of this paper is to provide a public update report on the projects that have been funded under this latter research program, along with results to date.
An analysis of FARS and State accident data has been completed. Results indicate that fire rates have been significantly reduced over the past 20 years. Fire rates for passenger cars and LTVs have approached similar levels. Fire rates by crash mode indicate that rear impact fires have been significantly reduced; however, fires in rollover crashes have seen considerably less reduction. The highest percentages of fires are subsequent to frontal impacts.
A vehicle database has been developed, which documents the use of certain fire safety related technologies. A brief summary and distribution of these technologies has been provided here. Additional work has been conducted to investigate the safety of 42-volt electrical systems including testing procedures for carbon tracking and the study of sustained high-intensity arcs on automotive materials. Results for Carbon Tracking are presented here. Finally, a study to investigate the toxicity of the smoke evolved from the combustion of materials from exterior vehicle components, specifically those that may be located under the hood of a vehicle in the engine compartment, has been completed and results reported.