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Fire Tests of Single Office Workstations. Federal Building and Fire Safety Investigation of the World Trade Center Disaster (NIST NCSTAR 1-5C) ***DRAFT for Public Comments***



Thomas J. Ohlemiller, George W. Mulholland, Skandakumar H. Abeyesekere, James J. Filliben, Richard G. Gann


Reconstruction of the fires that occurred in the World Trade Center (WTC) 1, 2, and 7 on September 11. 2001, relied heavily on computer simulations because examination of the post-fire premises was not possible and the information from eyewitness accounts was severely limited in nature. These simulations were performed using the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS). This report describes a series of six fire tests of single workstations (i.e.. office cubicles), the dominant combustibles in the WTC buildings. The purpose was to understand how the office workstations may have burned and to provide data for improvements in the FDS combustion algorithm and its inputs needed to approximate the burning of combustibles as complex as those that comprise an office workstation. The variables in the tests were the type of workstation, the presence of jet fuel on combustible surfaces, and the presence of inert material covering part of the combustible surfaces. The outcome was a pragmatic, empirical approach to modeling the burning behavior that led to satisfactory replication of the heat release rate from the workstations and the dependence of that rate on the test variables.
National Construction Safety Team Act Reports (NIST NCSTAR) - 1-5
Report Number


World Trade Center, high rise buildings, building collapse, disasters, fire safety, fire investigations, terrorists, terrorism, office buildings, fire tests, fire models, large scale fire tests, reconstruction, computer simulation, combustibles
Created September 1, 2005, Updated February 19, 2017