Schomaker, R., Knickrehm, B., and Langediers, J., "Safety Release Fasteners Enable New Cabin/Cargo Decompression Concept," SAE Int. J. Aerosp. 9(1):177-180, 2016, doi:10.4271/2016-01-2082.
In the frame of incremental product improvement, AIRBUS has developed and implemented a new innovative rapid decompression / pressure relieve concept for the cargo compartment area. The core change lays with detaching the complete cargo lining panels from the substructure in case of a rapid decompression in the cargo area instead of using dedicated blow in panels. In that way, pressure equilibrium can be achieved by air flow through the opened areas around the cargo lining panels rather than through specific blow out / blow in venting areas. The key for this is a self-detaching fastener AIRBUS has developed in an outstanding cooperation with ARCONIC Fastening Systems & Rings (former Alcoa Fastening Systems & Rings) in Kelkheim, Germany. These fasteners are installed to keep the cargo lining panels in place and tight against smoke in case of fire which is one of the main purposes for their use. In case of a rapid decompression event in the cargo area, the multi-piece self-detaching fastener fails within a defined timeframe and releases the ceiling and sidewall panels. The main challenge was to develop a fastener that on the one hand fulfils the tightness requirements, characterised by a certain compression level of a drytape seal, as well as mechanical conditions such as hard landings, wheel imbalance, windmilling etc. but on the other hand detaches (releases) at a narrow pressure difference load window in a given timeframe. Also, since the fastener is frequently removed and re-installed in service, a high number of re-use cycles needed to be achieved.