SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1991

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


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.

Author Information

Bryan, CJ
John F. Kennedy Space Center, FL
Stoltzfus, JM
White Sands Test Facility, Las Cruces, NM
Gunaji, MV
Lockheed-ESC, White Sands Test Facility, Las Cruces, NM
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Developed by Committee: G04
Pages: 453–462
DOI: 10.1520/STP17779S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5170-3
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-1461-6