The ability to conduct safe, repeatable and accurate intermediate and large scale fire experiments is essential to understanding fire behavior and structural response to fire. NFRL is used to provide researchers with well quantified large-scale fire and structural fire resistance measurements to support fire model validation studies, enable fire investigations, support post disaster and failure studies, and enable advances in fire standards and codes.
Objective: To maintain, improve and expand measurement capabilities at the NIST NFRL and to use the facility to conduct safe and accurate large-scale fire experiments.
What is the new technical idea? The NFRL will be used to safely conduct fire and structural fire resistance experiments, support advances in fire metrology, enable fire model validation studies, enable advances in codes and standards, and support building and fire safety investigations and post disaster and failure studies. New instrumentation and standardized test methods will be developed to provide reference data for comparison against numerical predictions at multiple levels: sub-scale, single item response to fire, and full scale reconstructions. In order to meet the needs of the researchers that use the NFRL (both NIST staff and external collaborators), a focus is placed on improving the operational capabilities of the three legacy and the new large calorimeters. Statistical methods for uncertainty analysis and computational fluid dynamics modeling will be used to systematically examine and improve the heat release rate (HRR) measurement system. New data acquisition methods will be developed to improve the measurement and safety systems in the expanded NFRL.
What is the research plan? By 2013, the NFRL will resume non-structural fire testing operations in the legacy laboratory. In addition, NFRL staff will provide metrology and technical support to the commissioning of the new NFRL capabilities. New instrumentation, data acquisition systems, and test fixtures will be developed and maintained, including installation and functional testing of the exhaust hood skirts. The new fuel delivery system will be installed. Oxygen consumption calorimetry for the new hood and the NFRL Operations and Control Center instrumentation will be completed. This will allow both calibration of the new 20 MW hood, as well as improvement of the operating capabilities of the three existing (3 m, 6 m, and 9 m) large calorimeters. By 2014, NFRL staff will enable the full range of measurement systems for structure-fire research in the NFRL. New measurement capabilities will be developed to allow accurate quantification of structural response parameters (strains and displacements) in a fire environment. This research will build on the findings of the exploratory project titled “Structural Property Measurements in Fire Environments”.
Finally, 2014, a formal Quality Control plan for the NFRL will be completed. The aim of the Quality Control effort will be to provide a standardized level of high quality data for NFRL users across projects using the entire spectrum of laboratory capabilities.
Standards and Codes: With the Associate Director for Fire Research serving as Research Executive in ASTM Committee E05, NIST will be in a very good position to provide leadership and technical basis for improving fire metrology standards.
The Associate Director for Fire Research of NFRL will continue to act as the NIST representative to North American Fire Testing Laboratories (NAFTL) consortium. Interactions with NAFTL will focus on developing a prioritized list of the fire laboratories’ fire metrology requirements and integrating these findings in the NFRL fire metrology plan.
Start Date:October 1, 2012
Lead Organizational Unit:el
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