Browse Publications Technical Papers 2020-01-0925

Full-Scale Burn Test of a 2014 Sport Utility Vehicle 2020-01-0925

Results from a full-scale vehicle burn test involving a sport utility vehicle illustrated how fire spread throughout the vehicle, how temperature distributions changed over time, and how arcing-through-char does not always occur in a vehicle fire. The fire was initiated on a grommet on the rear portion of the passenger’s side of the engine compartment. Once the temperature near the origin reached approximately 600°C, the rate of fire spread rapidly increased. Over the next 3.5 minutes, the fire spread to all locations within the engine compartment and both front tires. Although certain circuits within the vehicle’s electrical system were energized for the duration of the fire, with the battery located at the rear of the passenger compartment and the ignition switch in the “off” position, no evidence of beaded copper was observed on any of the conductors located in the engine compartment for this test. However, numerous fuses were found to have activated after the fire. The lack of visual and tactile evidence of beaded copper wires does not imply that the battery lost power early on in the fire.


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