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Energy Balance in a Large Compartment Fire



Anthony P. Hamins, Erik L. Johnsson, Alexander Maranghides


The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) are collaborating to assess and validate fire computer codes for nuclear power plant applications. This evaluation is being conducted through a series of benchmarking and validation exercises. The goal of the present study was to provide data from a large-scale fire test of a simulated nuclear power plant cable room. The experiments consisted of a hydrocarbon spray fire with a 1 MW heat release rate, burning in a single compartment 7 m wide, 22 m long, and 4 m high. Measurements included the vertical temperature profiles, heat flux to the compartment surfaces, the velocity and temperature at the compartment doorway, and the total heat release rate. From these measurements, an energy balance was considered, in which it was determined that nearly 74% of the fire's energy went to heat compartment surfaces, 22% escaped through the doorway, and 4% heated gases in the compartment.
Fire Safety Journal
No. 3


compartment fires, energy balance, experiments, computational fluid dynamics, validation, fire models, equations, temperature, heat release rate, calorimetry, oxygen consumption, heat loss, walls, ceilings, floors, mass flux, heat flux, gas temperature, enthalpy, heat loss, doorways


Hamins, A. , Johnsson, E. and Maranghides, A. (2008), Energy Balance in a Large Compartment Fire, Fire Safety Journal, [online], (Accessed July 25, 2024)


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Created April 1, 2008, Updated February 19, 2017