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Context and main objectives

There is an urgent need to have a confident toxicity measurement methodology that contributes to the existing level of surface transport fire safety, which is the most difficult issue to assess in case of fire. The lack of confidence in the robustness of the existing product toxicity classification forbids its acceptance as a standard which prevent the European industry from common safety rules and consequently competitiveness.

Moreover, it is also important to have a holistic approach of fire safety design of vehicle being able to provide more flexible and economic solutions than the current approach.

TRANSFEU undertakes to deliver both a reliable toxicity measurement methodology and a holistic fire safety approach for all kind of surface transport (trains, vessels, etc.). It will be based on a harmonized Fire Safety Engineering methodology which will link passive fire security with active fire security mode.

This all embracing system is the key to attain optimum design solutions to respect fire safety objectives as an alternative to the prescriptive approach. It will help in the development of innovative solutions (design and products used for the building of the surface transport) which will better respect the environment.

In order to reach these objectives new toxicity measurement methodology and related classification of materials, new numerical fire simulation tools, fire test methodology and a decision tool to optimize or explore new design in accordance to the fire safety requirements will be developed.

A great effort of dissemination of TRANSFEU results with a significant contribution to European standardization process will also be undertaken. The participation of railway industrials, operators and fire science researchers, professional organisations for railway (UNIFE) and vessels (IMO) and finally standardisation organisations (DIN FSF) demonstrates the great interest of TRANSFEU for the harmonisation of fire safety in all surface transport.

Work performed

The project, which started in April 2009, achieved important results so far, most notably:

  • In Fire test for toxicity of fire effluents (WP2), where a very repeatable and reproducible test method has been developed (60 products have been tested according to this test method) and other bench scale tests, aiming at producing a database for Fire safety Engineering. This method has been accepted by the JWG to be included in the European standard EN 45545-2 (Requirements for fire behaviour of materials and components).

  • Conventional pragmatic classification system for the toxicity of fire effluents released from products on trains (WP3) where an assortment of mathematical models has been developed. A classification system has been proposed in the third quarter 2011. It was in discussion with the JWG to be incorporated in the EN 45545-2. It was decided to incorporate the TRANSFEU classification proposal during the revision of the standard. The validation of the conventional pragmatic toxicity classification criteria proposed by comparison with the full scale and real scale test results (task 6.5) is progressing and shall be finished the month 42.

  • Fire safety engineering methodology for surface transport (WP4) where the fire safety objective, fire risk analysis, design fire scenarios and data base have been finalised. The general description of the Fire safety methodology for surface transport shall be finished the month 40

  • Development of numerical simulation tools (WP5) where task T5.4 (evacuation of people) is finished and task 5.1 (simulation of fire growth), task 5.2 (simulation of toxic effects on people due to the combustion of products), task 5.3 (validation of these simulation tools) and task 5.5 (simulation of the fire effect on integrity) are progressing.

  • The full scale and real scale tests (WP6) which have been finished at M36.

But a small delay for task 5.1, 5.2 and 5.3 are expected because of some difficulties for the validation of the simulation tools. The resolution of these problem is well progressing.
In conclusion we are optimistic about the results of this research project and the possibility to develop innovative tools for a holistic fire safety based approach for the design of trains.

Collaborations on standardisation

Another important contribution of TRANSFEU will be to introduce the project results to DIN FSF and to CENELEC/TC9X and, as leading contributors to the CEN/CENELEC JWG and to manage the development of a classification system for railway products. This has been facilitated by DIN FSF involvement in TRANSFEU, and supported by UNIFE and IMO.

The foreseen tight relation with train builders, railway operators, UNIFE, standardisation bodies (DIN FSF), notified bodies (EBC) and IMO is aimed at setting fast-track procedures for standard setting and approval. There are CEN TC256 fast procedures which permit to introduce rapidly a draft standard coming from research when a recognized body like UNIFE asks it officially to the CEN. It will thus pursue the objectives of delivering European standards and best practices, shortening the times for approval by integrating relevant experts already at an early stage of the project and establishing a framework of co-operation in the standardisation domain.

This will lead to an enhanced performance for standards and add to their economic value and their reactivity to technological developments.

Suppliers will benefit from a single set of fire tests being applicable across the entire European market rather than having to carry out national tests for each country. Decreases in cost and time dedicated to those trials and harmonized legislations will allow manufacturers to enlarge their targeted markets. The larger companies who supply vehicles and/or systems will benefit if the basis of the project is EN rather than NFPA as the usual supplier base will be available to them.
Fire laboratories will encourage suppliers and designers to undertake comparative testing of the new smoke and toxicity dynamic test compared to those national tests that have been specified historically for assessment of fire effluents in transport vehicles.

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