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- This report presents the results of arc track testing conducted to determine if such a transfer of power to un-energized wires is possible and/or likely during an arcing event, and to evaluate an array of protection schemes that may significantly reduce the possibility of such a transfer. The results of these experiments may be useful for determining the level of protection necessary to guard against spurious voltage and current being applied to safety critical circuits. It was not the purpose of these experiments to determine the probability of the initiation of an arc track event only if an initiation did occur could it cause the undesired event: an inadvertent thruster firing. The primary wire insulation used in the Orbiter is aromatic polyimide, or Kapton , a construction known to arc track under certain conditions . Previous Boeing testing has shown that arc tracks can initiate in aromatic polyimide insulated 28 volts direct current (VDC) power circuits using more realistic techniques such as chafing with an aluminum blade (simulating the corner of an avionics box or lip of a wire tray), or vibration of an aluminum plate against a wire bundle . Therefore, an arc initiation technique was chosen that provided a reliable and consistent technique of starting the arc and not a realistic simulation of a scenario on the vehicle. Once an arc is initiated, the current, power and propagation characteristics of the arc depend on the power source, wire gauge and insulation type, circuit protection and series resistance rather than type of initiation. The initiation method employed for these tests was applying an oil and graphite mixture to the ends of a powered twisted pair wire. The flight configuration of the heater circuits, the fuel/oxider (or ox) wire, and the RCS jet solenoid were modeled in the test configuration so that the behavior of these components during an arcing event could be studied. To determine if coil activation would occur with various protection wire schemes, 145 tests were conducted using various fuel/ox wire alternatives (shielded and unshielded) and/or different combinations of polytetrafuloroethylene (PTFE), Mystik tape and convoluted wraps to prevent unwanted coil activation. Test results were evaluated along with other pertinent data and information to develop a mitigation strategy for an inadvertent RCS firing. The SSP evaluated civilian aircraft wiring failures to search for aging trends in assessing the wire-short hazard. Appendix 2 applies Weibull statistical methods to the same data with a similar purpose.
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 20060009469.
9th Joint FAA/DoD/NASA Conference on Aging Aircraft; 6-9 Mar. 2006; Atlanta, GA; United States.
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