Method enables assessment of fire's effects on materials
Scientists in Spain have developed a way to accurately assess the effects of fire on different materials using infrared technology.
The method overcomes the problem that the temperature of the flames, which reach more than 1,000ºC, can obscure the temperature of the material, according to the researchers from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M).
The research, which could have particular applications in aerospace, also addresses the issue that the high concentration of gases such as carbon dioxide and water vapour that make it difficult to obtain clear images of the sample being tested.
‘To do this, we had to use an infrared camera — properly set, spectrally — for measuring the temperature, as well as image processing that allowed us to determine the measurement, discounting the flame’s fanning effects,’ said researcher Prof Fernando López.
Assessing the effects of fire on materials is particularly important to the aerospace industry, which increasingly relies on new composite materials to build aircraft.
But the research could also be used in other sectors where a material’s resistance to fire is crucial, such as in rail and land transport or fire protection in housing.
Infrared measurement can be done without any direct contact with the material, almost instantly (in milliseconds) and under severe conditions (when flames are present) where other systems of measurement cannot be used, the researchers said.
‘The main objective is to quickly and precisely measure the real temperature of the sample over the entire surface — including the part that is hidden by the flames — and to do this from a distance,’ said López.
The researchers are also investigating a technique that allows them to measure, from a distance, the thermodynamic properties of materials using an infrared analysis of the image.
They hope to find a way to use infrared technology to detect hidden subsurface defects that can be generated by fire or other causes.
The UC3M team conducted the research in collaboration with the Airbus Systems Laboratory and has published its results in the journal Measurement Science and Technology.