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Fire Dynamics Simulator: User's Manual (NISTIR 6469)



Kevin B. McGrattan, Glenn P. Forney


Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS) is a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model of fire-driven fluid flow. The software described in this document solves numerically a form of the Navier-Stokes equations appropriate for low-speed, thermally-driven flow with an emphasis on smoke and heat transport from fires. The formulation of the equations and the numerical algorithm are contained in a companion document, called "Fire Dynamics Simulator: Technical Reference Guide". The intent of this User's Manual is to explain how calculations are performed and how to analyze the results. Fire Dynamics Simulator consists of two computer programs. The first, called simply fds, is a Fortran 90 computer program that solves the equations. The second, called smokeview, is an OpenGL graphics program that allows one to visualize the results. All of the input parameters required by fds to describe the particular scenario of interest are conveyed via one or two text files created by the user. Version 1 of smokeview has a limited Graphical User Interface (GUI), with major parameters controlled by a GUI and minor parameters controlled via a text file. How to get FDS: All of the files associated with FDS are linked to the URL: The FDS distribution consists of the Fortran 90 source code for fds, a compiled executable for the PC (fds.exe), a compiled executable of smokeview for the PC (smokeview.exe) and several popular UNIX workstations, and sample input files for the cases discussed below.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 6469
Report Number


fire models, simulation, predictive models, computational fluid dynamics, fire protection


McGrattan, K. and Forney, G. (2000), Fire Dynamics Simulator: User's Manual (NISTIR 6469), NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed April 14, 2024)
Created January 1, 2000, Updated June 2, 2021