Effects of Wind Direction and Wind Speed on Fire Patterns from a Vehicle Fire in a Compact Car

Paper #:
  • 2017-01-1353

Published:
  • 2017-03-28
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Abstract:
This paper will compare and contrast the fire patterns which developed on four nearly identical compact sedans when each was burned for exactly the same amount of time, but with different wind direction and wind speed during the burn. This paper will also compare and contrast the effects of environmental exposure to the fire patterns on the test vehicles. The burn testing was completed at an outdoor test facility in South East Michigan on four late model compact sedans. The wind direction was controlled by placing the subject vehicle with either the front facing into the wind, or rear facing into the wind. The wind speed was considered “low” when the average wind speed during the burn was less than or equal to 11kph or “high” when the average wind speed during the burn was greater than or equal to 19kph. The origination point of each vehicle fire was the same, with the fire being set by a small incendiary device and allowed to burn freely for twenty-four minutes. At the twenty-four minute mark each fire was extinguished using water from a fire hose. The water was applied using techniques as would be used by a typical municipal fire department. The vehicles were then photographed to document the general fire patterns and material consumption immediately post-fire. The vehicles were moved to an outdoor storage lot, covered and exposed to the environment of a Northern climate for a period of at least one year in order to simulate typical salvage yard conditions. The vehicles were then photographed again to document the general fire patterns post-storage.
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