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Simulating the Swissair flight 111 in-flight fire using the CFD fire simulation software SMARTFIRE

Simulating the Swissair flight 111 in-flight fire using the CFD fire simulation software SMARTFIRE

Jia, F., Patel, M.K. and Galea, E.R. (2004) Simulating the Swissair flight 111 in-flight fire using the CFD fire simulation software SMARTFIRE. In: Fourth Triennial International Fire and Cabin Safety Research Conference, 15–19 Nov 2004, Lisbon, Portugal.

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Abstract

At 8.18pm on 2 September 1998, Swissair Flight 111 (SR 111), took off from New York’s JFK airport bound for Geneva, Switzerland. Tragically, the MD-11 aircraft never arrived. According to the crash investigation report, published on 27 March 2003, electrical arcing in the ceiling void cabling was the most likely cause of the fire that brought down the aircraft. No one on board was aware of the disaster unfolding in the ceiling of the aircraft and, when a strange odour entered the cockpit, the pilots thought it was a problem with the air-conditioning system. Twenty minutes later, Swissair Flight 111 plunged into the Atlantic Ocean five nautical miles southwest of Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia, with the loss of all 229 lives on board.

In this paper, the Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis of the in-flight fire that brought down SR 111 is described. Reconstruction of the wreckage disclosed that the fire pattern was extensive and complex in nature. The fire damage created significant challenges to identify the origin of the fire and to appropriately explain the heat damage observed. The SMARTFIRE CFD software was used to predict the “possible” behaviour of airflow as well as the spread of fire and smoke within SR 111. The main aims of the CFD analysis were to develop a better understanding of the possible effects, or lack thereof, of numerous variables relating to the in-flight fire. Possible fire and smoke spread scenarios were studied to see what the associated outcomes would be. This assisted investigators at Transportation Safety Board (TSB) of Canada, Fire & Explosion Group in assessing fire dynamics for cause and origin determination.

Item Type: Conference or Conference Paper (Paper)
Additional Information: [1] This paper was first presented at the Fourth Triennial International Fire and Cabin Safety Research Conference held from 15-19 November 2004 in Lisbon, Portugal. It was given within the Materials Section.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Computational Fluid Dynamics, (CFD), SMARTFIRE, fire modelling, Swissair Flight 111, flight simulation
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA76 Computer software
T Technology > T Technology (General)
T Technology > TL Motor vehicles. Aeronautics. Astronautics
Pre-2014 Departments: School of Computing & Mathematical Sciences
School of Computing & Mathematical Sciences > Centre for Numerical Modelling & Process Analysis
School of Computing & Mathematical Sciences > Centre for Numerical Modelling & Process Analysis > Computational Mechanics & Reliability Group
School of Computing & Mathematical Sciences > Centre for Numerical Modelling & Process Analysis > Computational Science & Engineering Group
School of Computing & Mathematical Sciences > Centre for Numerical Modelling & Process Analysis > Fire Safety Engineering Group
School of Computing & Mathematical Sciences > Department of Mathematical Sciences
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:02
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/896

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