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September 5, 2012 Previous day Next day

Lithium ion battery cells and small battery packs (8 to 10 cells) are in wide consumer use today. Superior capacity has driven the demand for these batteries in electronic devices such as laptops, power tools, cameras, and cell phones. In 2011, the Foundation conducted a hazard and use assessment of these batteries, with a focus on developing information to inform fire protection strategies in storage. Since that time, the Foundation has conducted a survey of storage practices and developed a multi-phase research strategy.

The objective of this program phase is to provide a comparative flammability characterization of common lithium ion batteries to standard commodities in storage.

Based on the previous hazard assessment, and the recently completed storage survey, the scope of this program will include three different battery types:

  • 18650 format cylindrical lithium ion batteries
  • Prismatic lithiumion batteries in polymer gel packs
  • Packaged power tool rechargeable battery packs with cylindrical

The results will be analyzed in comparison with the flammability performance of standard commodities and, if appropriate, sprinkler protection criteria will be developed to inform NFPA 13.

Cloud ceilings are ceiling panels that sit beneath the structural ceiling of a room or space and are seen increasingly in commercial and industrial buildings.  “Cloud” panels range in area from discrete ceiling panels with large spaces in between, to close-to-full-room-area contiguous coverage with small gaps at the perimeter wall location. NFPA 13 does not have definitive guidance on automatic sprinkler installation requirements for these ceilings and in some conditions requires sprinklers at both the structural ceiling and cloud ceiling panel elevations.  Recent NFPA 13 change proposals were rejected based on a lack of validation of modeling results.

The objective of this project is to obtain an understanding of how cloud ceiling panels impact sprinkler actuation thresholds with an overall goal to provide the technical basis for sprinkler installation requirements. A primary focus  is determination of sprinkler installation requirements for large contiguous “clouds” with a specific objective of determining the maximum separation distance between the wall and cloud edge at which structural ceiling sprinklers are not necessary/effective. 

Both fire modeling and full scale testing will be conducted.

 

 

The first emergency responder community is currently experiencing the enhancement of existing and development of new electronic technologies for use with personal protective equipment (PPE) ensembles. After 11 September 2001, the rate of technological innovation has accelerated, with additional consideration given toward CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive) type events. Protective ensembles used by first emergency responders include or will soon include electronics such as communications, GPS and tracking, environmental sensing, physiological sensing, and other components now becoming practical solutions at emergency incidents.

However, overall integration and coordination of these electronic-based technologies on a broad scale is lacking, and a standardized electronics integration platform/framework is needed. For the first emergency responder to remain effective, these electronic technologies must interact and operate synergistically, and provide an effective and efficient overall package for the first emergency responder. Integration of these components with the first emergency responder ensemble is required for managing weight, space, heat, and power requirements, as well as to create the least interference and burden to the wearer.

The goal of this project is to develop performance requirements for the compatibility and interoperability of electronic equipment used by emergency first responders.

The research program is made possible through funding from the National institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and will be conducted under the auspices of the Research Foundation with the intent of having a final report 18 months from project initiation. The report will be made available electronically to the general public and presented to the relevant standards development committees of NFPA and ASTM.

Cooking-equipment related fires are a leading cause of U.S. fire loss. The National Fire Protection Association reports that in 2003-2006, for example, there were 150,200 reported home cooking related fires per year, with associated annual losses of 500 civilian deaths, 4,700 civilian injuries and $756 million in direct property damage.

Beginning in the mid 1980’s, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Consumer Product Safety Commission, and home appliance industry undertook a comprehensive review of strategies to mitigate death, injury and property loss from cooking fires. All strategies were engineering strategies defined by a condition to be detected (e.g. overheat of pan or food in pan, absence of person actively engaged in cooking process, early-stage fire on stovetop) and an action to be taken (e.g., shut off cooking heat, sound alarm, suppress fire). As part of this study, a comprehensive review of existing technologies was done.

In February of 2010, a Vision 20/20 workshop on this topic was convened in Washington D.C. Participants recommended that a study be undertaken to identify the barriers to the utilization of these technologies and to develop an action plan towards improving cooking fire safety.

In 2010, the Foundation conducted a study supported by NIST to develop this action plan.  The project culminated with a one day workshop of 35 leaders from the kitchen appliance, fire service, and user communities who met to review the study's findings and identify gaps in information. From the workshop the goal of the current project was identified:  to develop standard cooking scenarios and to create candidate test methods and performance metrics to evaluate cooking fire mitigation technologies. 

The technical work will be done by Hughes Associates, Inc. and will be completed in about a year. The final report of the study will be made available electronically to the general public through the Research current Foundation website and directly transmitted to the relevant standards development committees of UL, CSA and to  the Vision 20/20 initiative on this topic. 

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