Evaluation of Automobile Fluid Ignition on Hot Surfaces 2007-01-1394
Automobile fires are a serious concern to manufacturers and consumers. However, understanding how the fires begin, in the confines of the engine compartment, is a difficult task. One known cause of fires is hot surface ignition (HSI) arising when engine fluids contact hot surfaces in the engine compartment or the exhaust train. In this study, the ignition of automotive gasoline on four hot surfaces: stainless and carbon steels from the heat shields, stainless steel from the exhaust manifold and cast iron cut from an intake manifold, was examined in a well-controlled, model study. Infra-red thermography and thermocouples were used to monitor surface temperatures prior to, during and after the fluid impacted the surface. This allowed evaluation and comparison of temperature evolution during fluid impact and the ignition event, resulting in an improved mechanistic understanding of the fluid/hot surface interaction. The base material and catalytic nature of the hot surface was shown to greatly affect the ignition temperature. As the surfaces changed due to repeated thermal cycling, the effects on ignition temperature also varied.