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Saving Lives on Earth and Beyond: Space Station Flame Research Sheds Light on Fire Safety

A tragic high-rise fire inspired breakthrough research leveraging the International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory to reveal startling insights into the behavior of flames in confined spaces. The results have the potential to improve fire safety models and prevent future tragedies.

In the latest issue of Upward, the official magazine of the ISS National Lab, we dive into an investigation of flame spread in confined spaces by Ya-Ting Liao, a research scientist with Case Western Reserve University. London’s tragic Grenfell Tower fire in 2017 inspired Liao to look more closely at how flames behave in confined spaces. The research that followed onboard the space station utilized state-of-the-art hardware in microgravity to address this gap in knowledge, providing crucial insights into flame propagation and interactions with surrounding walls.

The findings could have far-reaching applications, from improving fire safety on spacecraft to new fire protection measures in high-rise buildings.

Upward is dedicated to communicating the results of ISS National Lab-sponsored experiments that demonstrate the value of space-based research and technology development. Read the article “Heating Things Up in Microgravity” for an in-depth story that captures the motivations that drive fundamental research and highlights the intersection of science, innovation, and human safety.

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