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Executive Summary (NIST SP 861)



William L. Grosshandler, Richard G. Gann, William M. Pitts


Bromotrifluoromethane (halon 1301 or CF3Br) has been the fire-fighting agent of choice for decades to protect inaccessible spaces aboard aircraft in flight because of its inherent ability to inhibit combustion while possessing a high liquid density and stability, and low boiling point, electrical conductivity, corrosiveness, toxicity and cost. The bromine atom, which is credited with giving halon international agreement, commercial production of CF3Br has ceased in order to protect the stratospheric ozone layer. No alternative agents are available which have all the positive characteristics of halon 1301. Hence, there is an urgency to finding a replacement chemical in order to maintain aircraft safety. The affected government agencies and industries have a large stake in minimizing the impact of making a transition because of the potentially huge costs involved and military readiness implications.
Special Publication (NIST SP) - 861
Report Number


halons, aircraft engines, nacelle fires, evaluation, large scale fire tests, simulation, in-flight fires, halon 1301, commercial aircraft, military aircraft, fire extinguishing agents, boiling point


Grosshandler, W. , Gann, R. and Pitts, W. (1994), Executive Summary (NIST SP 861), Special Publication (NIST SP), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed June 14, 2024)


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Created April 1, 1994, Updated November 10, 2018