SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 26 July 2016

Evaluation of Containment Boxes as a Fire Mitigation Method in Elevated Oxygen Conditions


NASA performed testing to evaluate the efficacy of fire containment boxes without forced ventilation. Configurational flammability testing was performed on a simulation avionics box replicating critical design features and filled with materials possessing representative flammability characteristics. This paper discusses the box's ability, under simulated end-use conditions, to inhibit the propagation of combustion to surrounding materials. Analysis was also performed to evaluate the potential for the fire containment box to serve as an overheat/ignition source to temperature sensitive equipment (such as items with lithium-ion batteries). Unrealistically severe combustion scenarios were used as a means to better understand the fire containment mechanism. These scenarios were achieved by utilizing materials/fuels not typically used in space vehicles due to flammability concerns. Oxygen depletion, during combustion within the fire containment boxes, drove self-extinguishment and proved an effective method of fire containment.

Author Information

Juarez, Alfredo
Jacobs Engineering, White Sands Test Facility, Las Cruces, NM, US
Harper, Susana, A.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration, White Sands Test Facility/RF111, Las Cruces, NM, US
Perez, Horacio
Materials and Processing, Lockheed Martin, Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, US
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Developed by Committee: G04
Pages: 363–373
DOI: 10.1520/STP159620150079
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-7638-6
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-7637-9