Experiments and Numerical Simulations of Pressure Effects in Apartment Fires

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The fire induced pressure and its influence on ventilation flows within a compartment have not been studied in detail previously.In this research work, we have investigated the development of gas pressure and the resulting flows in compartment fires first experimentally, by burning a series of heptane pool and polyurethane mattress fires inside a real, 58.6 m^2 by 2.57 m high, apartment and then by carrying out numerical simulations of the experiments with the FDS code. The experiments were conducted with three different ventilation duct configurations to simulate three different airtightness conditions. The peak heat release rates were less than 1 MW and the burning times were about 180 s.
The experimental results indicate that the gas pressure in relatively closed apartment can become high enough to revert the flows of the ventilation system, prevent escape through inwards-opening doors, and even break some structures. The peak gas temperatures under the ceiling of the burn room were about 300 C. The pool fires remained well-ventilated. The pressure ranges encountered in the experiments were between 100 Pa to 1650 Pa and the pressure occured within 50 s of ignition. We also report the FDS validation for this type of simulations and discuss the process of modelling the ventilation system and leakages.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1353-1377
Number of pages25
JournalFire Technology
Issue number3
Early online date30 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - May 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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