Fire simulation is an important area of research that supports not only industrial applications but also military, aviation and maritime environments. The application of simulators are both cost effective and a useful tool in determining how and where fires can materialize as well as defining the most appropriate way of extinguishing them.

Figure 1: The ESI Cabin Fire Simulator

The ability to alter the internal geometry of a simulator is of importance so that it can accommodate fixtures and fittings to replicate generic aerial platforms, such as that shown in Figure 2.

ESI has also developed a fireball generator so that confined fireballs may be produced within the  simulator for testing new fire detection strategies and innovative suppressant mechanisms. A fireball as large as 7 ft in diameter may be achieved, Figure 3.

ESI, working in collaboration with a client, has developed a full scale Rotorcraft Cabin Fire Simulator (RCFS) for test and evaluation studies. The simulator is approximately 8.5 ft x 8 ft in cross section and 20 ft in length and has been used for confined aviation fire detection and suppression studies such as those experienced in a large helicopter, Figure 1. The internal ribbed-wall structure of the simulator makes the addition of walls and bulkheads easy, as well as the quick mounting of fire detection and suppression devices. The addition of internal airflow (not shown in this image) is also available.

Figure 2: Internal View of a Rotorcraft Cargo Area


As an example of how well the identification and suppression of a fire within the RCFS can be achieved, a typical test has shown that a fire from a large fuel line leak of 300 GPH was:-
⦁    detected,
⦁    validated that it was a fire, 
⦁    discharged a suppressant, 
and extinguished the fire in less than 900 milliseconds, Figure 4.

Figure 3: A Large Fireball Produced with Aviation Fuel

and Ignited Within the Cabin Fire Simulator

Figure 4: A Typical Fire Suppression Test Where a 300 GPH Aviation Fuel Fire Was

Detected and Extinguished in 858 Milliseconds