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Chemical Species and Temperature Mapping in Full Scale Underventilated Compartment Fires



Andrew J. Lock, Matthew F. Bundy, Erik L. Johnsson, Kelly M. Opert, Anthony P. Hamins, Cheolhong Hwang, Ki Y. Lee


Many injuries and deaths throughout the world are caused by fires each year. Many of the deaths are the result of toxic gas inhalation, such as carbon monoxide, by a victim remote from the actual fire source. In order to facilitate better building standards, forensic reconstruction, and safety design, fire models are used to predict or reconstruct the fire incident. Fire models such as the Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS) developed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) can predict heat transfer and gas flow through a known structural environment with relatively low uncertainty, however they utilize a very simple mixture fraction based chemistry model. This simplification is highly effective in making the code accessible and efficient enough to be used on a standard personal computer, but limits the model s effectiveness at predicting intermediate and incomplete products of combustion, such as carbon monoxide and soot, that may be generated by a real fire, especially if that fire is oxygen deficient and becomes underventilated. Recently NIST has undertaken an extensive set of measurements of the thermal and chemical environment of underventilated fires in an ISO9705 compartment to support fire model development and validation. A robust ISO9705 compartment was constructed to allow for repeated long duration underventilated compartment fire tests with repeatable boundary conditions and minimum turnaround time. The tests were conducted in the NIST Large Fire Lab (LFL), which provides a unique facility for this type of fire experiment. Temperature resistant and water cooled probes were implemented to extract gas samples for analysis, and a sturdy superstructure was constructed to facilitate positioning hardware so that the sample probes could be repositioned within the room during a test. Measurements of fuel mass loss rate and/or precise metering of fuel delivery rates were made to provide accurate data on the combustion efficiency of the system.
Proceedings Title
12th International Conference on Fire Science and Engineering
Conference Dates
July 5-7, 2010
Conference Location
Conference Title
Interflam 2010


compartment fires, underventilated, three dimensional mapping, upper layer, fuel distribution


Lock, A. , Bundy, M. , Johnsson, E. , Opert, K. , Hamins, A. , Hwang, C. and Lee, K. (2010), Chemical Species and Temperature Mapping in Full Scale Underventilated Compartment Fires, 12th International Conference on Fire Science and Engineering, Nottingham, -1, [online], (Accessed June 20, 2024)


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Created July 5, 2010, Updated February 19, 2017