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Journal Article

A Critical Assessment of Factors Affecting the Flammability of R-1234yf in a Frontal Collision

An evaluation methodology has been developed for assessing the suitability of R-1234yf in vehicles. This relates primarily to evaluating the flammability of R-1234yf in the engine compartment during a frontal collision. This paper will discuss the process followed in the methodology, the technical rationale for this process, and the results of the analysis. The specific types of analysis included in the methodology are: exhaust-system thermal characterization, computer simulated crash tests, actual crash tests, teardown and examination of crashed parts, and releases of refrigerant onto hot exhaust manifolds. Each type of analysis was logically ordered and combined to produce a comprehensive evaluation methodology. This methodology has been applied and demonstrates that R-1234yf is difficult to ignite when factors that occur in frontal crashes are simultaneously considered.