The National Fire Research Laboratory located on the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Gaithersburg, Maryland campus is a unique experimental facility dedicated to understanding fire behavior and structural response to fire. Scientists and engineers from industry, academia, and government agencies can collaborate with NIST researchers to address significant technical problems that promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness in areas including:
- Post-fire investigations,
- Validation of physics-based models,
- Generation of technical data to improve fire & building codes, and
- Advancement of real-scale structural-fire measurements.
The laboratory, which was constructed in 1973 and offered approximately 1000 m2 of experimental space around three exhaust hoods (1 MW, 3 MW, and 10 MW), was expanded in 2015 to provide an additional 2000 m2 of floor area. The expanded facility provides a strong-floor and strong-wall to allow for controlled structural loading underneath an exhaust hood that can accommodate fires with sustained heat release rates up to 20 MW. Detailed technical specifications for the facility are provided in an article in Fire Technology.