Research Programs in Crash-Induced Fire Safety 2005-01-1425
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. This paper is the third in a series of technical papers intended to disseminate the results of the ongoing research [Digges 2003 and 2004]. This paper summarizes progress in several of the projects.
A statistical analysis of FARS and NASS/CDS indicates that frontal collisions are the most common in both fatal and non-fatal crashes with fires. NASS/CDS indicates that most major and minor fires originate under the hood. Fire rates in FARS are higher in rollovers than in planar crashes, and most rollover fires in NASS/CDS originate under the hood. An experimental study of the fuel containment technology in rollover crashes found that some current vehicle models are designed to prevent fuel tank leakage in rollovers, even when the fuel lines and hoses are severed (one at a time). An experimental under hood fire suppression system was tested and showed promise. Conductivity measurements of various engine compartment fluids indicates that these fluids are not sufficiently conductive to cause an ignition risk by inducing arc-tracking in 42 volt electrical systems.