SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1966

Assessment of the Flammability of Aircraft Fluids


The methods adopted for assessing the fire resistance of aircraft fluids have been critically reviewed. Most attention has been devoted to an examination of methods of assessing the likelihood of spontaneous ignition of fluids under the most severe conditions that may be encountered in flight. The present closed vessel and hot manifold tests are inadequate and may be misleading. Some other tests, for example the wick, spark ignition of spray, and CAA flammability reference scale, are criticized as being too narrow in their scope.

It is suggested that adequate basic information on the flammability of fluids would be obtained by improved versions of two simple tests:

1. Flash point (lower and upper).

2. Minimum spontaneous ignition temperature in a larger isothermal enclosed apparatus.

Where the application involves ignition on the outside of a hot body in cooler surroundings, the effects of environmental factors are so strong that each case should be treated individually, though some guidance can be provided by tests on a 6 in. hot pipe or flat plate.

Author Information

Macdonald, J.
Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough, Hampshire, England
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Developed by Committee: D02
Pages: 44–63
DOI: 10.1520/STP44656S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-6018-7
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-6172-6