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Analysis of Smoldering Fires in Closed Compartments and Their Hazard Due to Carbon Monoxide.



Jim G. Quintiere, M M. Birky, F Mcdonald, Gabriel L. Smith


A review was made of smoldering fire experiments conducted in closed room and buildings. The results were summarized by tabulating maximum levels of CO, the time integral of CO concentration ("dose"), CO2, temperature rise and oxygen consumption. A hazard time based on the attainment of a CO dose equal to 4.5% CO-minutes and the time for transition to flaming were also tabulated. The likelihood of reaching a critical CO condition during smoldering seems to be comparable to the likelihood of having transition to flaming occur. A theoretical model, requiring inputs of CO production rate and energy release rate, was executed an compared with available data. The theoretical results for CO concentration as a function of time were in good agreement with the experimental data. The model offers a means of extrapolating test data to compartments of various size in order to assess the general hazard of CO due to smoldering.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) -


building fires, carbon monoxide, compartment fires, smoldering, oxygen consumption


Quintiere, J. , Birky, M. , Mcdonald, F. and Smith, G. (1982), Analysis of Smoldering Fires in Closed Compartments and Their Hazard Due to Carbon Monoxide., NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed April 15, 2024)
Created June 30, 1982, Updated October 12, 2021