A Literature Review of the Effects of Smoke from a Fire on Electrical Equipment (NUREG/CR-7123)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: November 2011
Date Published: July 2012

Prepared by:
Richard D. Peacock, Thomas G. Cleary, Paul A. Reneke, Daniel C. Murphy
Engineering Laboratory

National Institute of Standards and Technology
Gathersburg, Maryland 20899

David Stroup , NRC Project Manager

Prepared for:
Division of Risk Analysis
Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington DC 20555-0001

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A review is presented of the state of the art of smoke production measurement, prediction of smoke impact as part of computer-based fire modeling, and measurement and prediction of the impact of smoke through deposition of soot on and corrosion of electrical equipment. The literature review on smoke corrosivity testing and damage due to smoke deposition emphasizes (despite extensive research on smoke corrosivity) the lack of validated and widely applicable prescriptive or performance based methods to assure electrical equipment survivability given exposure to smoke from a fire. Circuit bridging via current leakage through deposited smoke was identified as a potentially important mechanism of electronic and electrical equipment failure during nuclear power plant fires.

In the near term, assessment of potential damage can reasonably be based on the airborne smoke exposure concentration and the exposure duration. Hence, models that can predict the airborne smoke concentration would be sufficient to provide upper limit estimates of potential damage. In the longer term, it would be desirable to develop models that could estimate the deposition behavior of smoke, and specifically correlate the combination of deposited and airborne smoke to component damage.

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