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    An Assessment of the Metals Flammability Hazard in the Kennedy Space Center Oxygen Systems

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    Eight different metals are used in the gaseous oxygen systems at the John F. Kennedy Space Center in support of Shuttle launch operations. In 1985, a recommendation was proposed that the maximum operating gaseous oxygen system pressure be reduced to 20.6 MPa (3000 psi) from the original design operating pressure of 41.2 MPa (6000 psi). To evaluate this recommendation, a study of the burn propagation and ignition characteristics of the metals in the systems was performed by the NASA White Sands Test Facility (WSTF). The tests selected for this evaluation were the promoted propagation, particle impact, and frictional heating tests. The results of this evaluation indicated that it would be more hazardous to operate at an increased flow rate of oxygen at a lower pressure because of the increase in the possibility of an ignition due to particle impact.


    oxygen, particle impact, metals, safety, frictional heating, flame propagation, flammability, promoted combustion

    Author Information:

    Bryan, CJ
    Aerospace Technology Materials Engineer, John F. Kennedy Space Center, FL

    Stoltzfus, JM
    Aerospace Technology Engineer, White Sands Test Facility, Las Cruces, NM

    Gunaji, MV
    Mechanical Engineer, Lockheed-ESC, White Sands Test Facility, Las Cruces, NM

    Committee/Subcommittee: G04.02

    DOI: 10.1520/STP17779S