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An Analysis of the Effects of Ventilation on Burn Patterns Resulting from Passenger Compartment Interior Fires
ISSN: 0148-7191, e-ISSN: 2688-3627
To be published on April 14, 2020 by SAE International in United States
Vehicle fire investigators often use the existence of burn patterns and the amount and location of fire damage to determine the fire origin and its cause. The purpose of this paper is to study the effects of ventilation location on the burn patterns and burn damage of passenger compartment fires. Four similar 20XX Ford Fusion vehicles were burned. The fire origin and first material ignited were the same for all four vehicles. In each test, a different door window was down for the duration of the burn test. Each vehicle was allowed to burn until the windshield, back glass, or another window, other than the window used for ventilation, failed, thus changing the ventilation pattern. At that point, the fire was extinguished. Temperatures were measured in the passenger compartment and video and still photography were recorded. Post-burn, the vehicle burn patterns were analyzed and conclusions drawn on: ability to determine a window was open during the fire, which window was open, the effect the open window had on burn patterns and burn damage, and the ability to determine the fire origin.