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Experimental Study of Firebrand Transport



Samuel L. Manzello, Kuibin Zhou, Sayaka Suzuki


The NIST Firebrand Generator (NIST Dragon) has been used to quantify the vulnerability of structures to ignition by firebrand attack. The Firebrand Generator is also as useful device to study firebrand transport, and has been used to validate firebrand transport models. During this series of firebrand transport experimentation, the Firebrand Generator was fed with wood cubes of uniform size. The glowing firebrands generated from the combustion of these wood cubes were collected in an array of water filled pans that were arranged to collect the bulk of the lofted firebrands. The pan arrangement was determined from repeated preliminary studies. These experiments were performed over a range of wind speeds (up to 9 m/s) to determine the lofting distance of the firebrands generated. The major change in these experiments from prior work was, for a given wind speed, each pan was labeled, and the firebrand size and mass was determined at each pan location. In the past, it was only possible to determine the number distribution; specifically the number of firebrands at each spatial location was counted (not resolved at every pan but only across a given row of pans). Statistical analysis indicated that a normal distribution was able to capture the number/mass percentage versus horizontal distance. This study will provide even greater fidelity measurements to validate firebrand transport models, and provide further insights into the operation of the Firebrand Generator.
Fire Technology


WUI Fires, Firebrands


Manzello, S. , Zhou, K. and Suzuki, S. (2014), Experimental Study of Firebrand Transport, Fire Technology, [online], (Accessed June 15, 2024)


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Created June 1, 2014, Updated November 10, 2018