Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Energy Balance in a Large Compartment Fire. (POSTER ABSTRACTS)



Anthony P. Hamins, Erik L. Johnsson, Michelle K. Donnelly


The experiments described here were part of an international collaborative project to assess and validate fire computer codes for nuclear power plant applications. Understanding the distribution of energy released by a fire is important for testing the accuracy of computational fire codes, which are used to design fire protection systems. This poster focuses on one of a series of experiments (Test 3 in Ref. [1]). Test 3 was selected as illustrative of the measurement approach used to track the time-varying enthalpy and its distribution in a compartment fire. Whereas several studies have considered the distribution of energy in a compartment fire, few have quantified measurement uncertainty, which is essential for model validation. A goal of the test series was to fully characterize the experiment and the boundary conditions for subsequent comparison with fire models. Many measurements were made before the experiments even began. Compartment leakage, and the thermal and optical properties of the surface materials were measured. The combustion properties and behavior of the test fuel were characterized in a separate series of experiments that measured the heat of combustion, the combustion efficiency, the radiative fraction, and the yields of soot, CO2 and CO in the same burner as used here. The experiment consisted of a hydrocarbon spray fire with a heat release rate of nearly 1 MW, burning in a single compartment 7 m by 22 m by 4 m high. More than 350 instruments were used to make measurements. This poster focuses on measurements that were important to understand the enthalpy balance and the thermal environment in the compartment, including measurements of the fuel flow, the vertical profiles of temperature, the heat release rate via oxygen consumption calorimetry, the total heat loss to the compartment walls, ceiling, and floor, and the total mass and heat fluxes through the compartment door.
Proceedings Title
Fire Safety Science. Proceedings. Eighth (8th) International Symposium. (POSTER ABSTRACTS). International Association for Fire Safety Science (IAFSS). September 18-23, 2005
Conference Dates
September 18-23, 2005
Conference Location
Beijing, CN
Conference Title


fire research, fire safety, fire science, compartment fires, computational fluid dynamics, fire models, energy balance, validation


Hamins, A. , Johnsson, E. and Donnelly, M. (2005), Energy Balance in a Large Compartment Fire. (POSTER ABSTRACTS), Fire Safety Science. Proceedings. Eighth (8th) International Symposium. (POSTER ABSTRACTS). International Association for Fire Safety Science (IAFSS). September 18-23, 2005 , Beijing, CN, [online], (Accessed June 22, 2024)


If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact

Created September 18, 2005, Updated February 19, 2017