Fire-induced pressure and smoke spreading in mechanically ventilated buildings with air-tight envelopes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Research units

  • VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland


Fire-induced pressures have not been considered dangerous in building fires, but the situation may be changing as building envelopes become increasingly air-tight. In this study, we investigate whether this can change the fire development and pose new risks for structural and evacuation safety. We used experiments to validate the numerical models, and models for simulating the fire development in buildings with different air-tightness levels. The simulations considered air permeability values typical for traditional, modern and Near-Zero buildings. Three different smoke damper configurations were studied, and the fire growth rates were varied from medium to ultra-fast. The results showed that transitioning from traditional and modern buildings to Near-Zero buildings can sufficiently increase the peak overpressures from fast-growing fires to cause structural damage. Conditions were identified for avoiding excessively high overpressures, while preventing smoke from spreading through the ventilation system.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)380-388
Number of pages9
JournalFire Safety Journal
Early online date14 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • Airtightness, CFD, High-rise buildings, Modelling, Near-zero buildings, Pressure, Smoke

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