Electrical incendive phenomena -v- Flammability/Combustibility
Being a Forensic, Consultant Engineer and Expert Witness yet fundamentally an Electrical Engineer, I have studied and been part of numerous investigations of the causation of electrically related fires.
Of the investigations I have at times worked alongside other fire investigators, who are not experts in the field of electrical engineering, yet skilled in other engineering fields and subsequently educated/trained in the field of fire investigation and causation. On these occasion I have witnessed the ‘drive’ of my fellow investigators to identify evidence of the manifestation of electrical arcing phenomena and the to concentrate on forming a hypothesis based on arcing as the primary incendive phenomena.
Having studied electrical arcing phenomena in the course of the disintegration of electrical conductors/wires/fuse elements as my doctorate research field, I now have a deep understanding of the dynamic attributes, i.e. time and energy discharge of electrical sparking, arcing and Joule/ohmic /resistive/ heating, phenomena we understand to be electrical incendive phenomena. Consequently I am sometimes not comfortable with hypothesis presented by fellow investigators for fire ignition based solely on the identification of evidence of electrical arcing.
In my deliberation of the circumstances my thoughts lead me to surmise that some correlation exists between the dynamics of electrical incendive phenomena and the environment which surrounds the manifestation of the electrical incendive phenomena, i.e. the intimate media which provides the ‘fuel’ for fire perpetuation. Accordingly I have ‘sketched’ the accompanying graph to illustrate my point.
I have taken time to review literature to determine whether a body of work or information exists on the matter. To date I have identified only limited subject material. Accordingly, I would like to invite anyone who would like to collaborate or discuss the further development of the graph. In other words I consider the graph requires ‘sound data’ which provides a clear datum as to whether a particular circumstance could have provoked fire ignition or not. I suggest the ultimate aim/graph would be a reference tool similar to circumstance of human exposure to the conduction of electrical current i.e. electrical shocks as presented in IEC 60479, “Effects of electrical current on human beings and livestock”
Thank you Robert
Eur Ing Dr Robert Brown (Robert) is a Consultant Engineer in the fields Electrical Electronic and Control Engineering. Robert is also an accomplished professional Expert Witness having prepared and presented many court compliant reports and presented oral evidence within the High Court, Crown Courts and County Courts.
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