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Transient Fire Loads on Aluminum Ferries

Brian Hall




The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effect of transient fire loads on the duration and temperature of compartment fires on aluminum ferry vessels. The temperature of the aluminum structure of the vessel will be examined to determine if high transient loads increase the temperature beyond acceptable limits.


Currently, some aluminum ferry vessels are granted an exemption to the requirement for structural insulation in passenger compartments due to the low fire load in these spaces. The validity of granting these exemptions is currently being examined to determine if the temperature reached by the aluminum structure during a compartment fire is high enough that insulation should be required. The effect of fixed fire loads such as carpet, furnishings, food preparation equipment, and personal flotation device (PFD) storage has been studied; however, transient fire loads have been largely ignored. These transient loads will be considered to determine if their involvement in a compartment fire generates sufficient additional heat to raise the temperature of the aluminum structure above acceptable limits.


Items composing transient fire loads are defined as any personal belongings brought on board the vessel by a passenger and not stored in a designated cargo area. Examples of transient items include: backpacks, purses, briefcases, duffel bags, and suitcases. A study will be conducted to find experimental data for each common transient item and also to determine a realistic (but also worse case) scenario that describes the type, number, and placement of transient items. This data will then be used to model a compartment fire and determine the effect the scenario has on the temperature of the compartment's aluminum structure.

Brian Hall

Brian Hall is a Master of Science student in the Department of Fire Protection Engineering.


For further information about his research Brian can be contacted at: