Design fires for fire safety engineering: a state-of-the-art review

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ConferenceCIB World Building Congress 2004: 02 May 2004, Toronto, Ontario
Pages113; # of pages: 13
Subjectdesign fires, fire scenarios, fire safety engineering, pre-flashover, post-flashover, t-squared fires, fire loads; Design fires/Fire modeling
AbstractIn line with the worldwide trend of moving towards performance-based codes, Canada and many other countries are planning to introduce performance/objective-based codes in the near future. A performance-based approach allows for flexibility in design that may lead to improved cost-effectiveness. The success of these code systems will depend, to a large extent, on the ability of the available computational tools, most of which rely on suitably-defined design fires, to adequately predict the impact of fires on buildings and their occupants. It has always been recognized that the specification of design fires, derived from appropriate design fire scenarios, is a possible source of uncertainty in conducting any fire safety engineering assessment. This uncertainty stems from the difficulty in accurately calculating the combustion process (heat release rate, production of smoke and other gaseous species) based on the type, quantity, and arrangement of combustibles, as well as the point of ignition and subsequent fire spread to adjacent combustibles. This literature review was carried out to determine the range of methods used to characterize design fires. The methods currently available were found to be largely empirical in nature and fairly unsophisticated. The two main quantities used to describe design fires were found to be the heat release rate (pre-flashover scenario) and temperature-time profiles (post-flashover). The most widely-used pre-flashover design fires are t2 fires, whereas a host of empirical correlations are available for post-flashover design fires.
Publication date
AffiliationNRC Institute for Research in Construction; National Research Council Canada
Peer reviewedYes
NRC number38453
NPARC number20386102
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Record identifierd1896f31-9aa2-4f6d-8c2c-1c720b4f53c7
Record created2012-07-25
Record modified2016-05-09
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