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An Integrated Interactive Visualization and Analysis Environment to study the Impact of Fire on Building Structures



Dilip K. Banerjee, John L. Gross, Pradeep R. Gaddam, Thomas M. Olano, William J. Hess, Judith E. Terrill, Terence J. Griffin, John G. Hagedorn, John T. Kelso, Steven G. Satterfield


We have created an integrated interactive visualization and analysis environment, that can be used immersively or on the desktop, to study the interaction among fire, heat transfer, and structural deformation computed from three linked simulations. In this initial study, we simulated the evolution of a fire in a room (with a small adjoining room) with furniture, a window and a single structural beam. A sequential process was followed in which first the NIST Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS) was used to simulate the fire in the room. The adiabatic surface semperature at twelve marker points underneath the beam was used to capture the time dependent temperature during the simulation. Then a second simulator was used to calculate how the gas temperature at the markers propagated into the beam. Finally, a third simulator was used to compute how the beam deformed over time due to combined effects of thermal and mechanical loads. The programs produce three datasets that are very large. We use polygonal visualizations for the room and its contents, including the beam. The beam is shaded according to its temperature. We use a ray traced volume shader to visualize the fire and smoke. We combine temperature, heat release rate per unit volume, and soot density to come up with a local color and opacity at each step along the ray. We use the open dynamics physics engine to display window breakage at a time indicated in the fire simulation. To assist in the analysis, we can interactively display numeric values at individual points in the 3D space, and we can plot time histories of: temperature, the stress tensor in the beam, and deformation of the beam (location and orientation). We can also plot values along a chosen line. Preliminary investigation indicates that the linked models are behaving correctly.
Proceedings Title
Proceedings of SIGGRAPH 20
Conference Dates
July 25-29, 2010
Conference Location
Los Angeles, CA
Conference Title


visualization, fire, structures


Banerjee, D. , Gross, J. , Gaddam, P. , Olano, T. , Hess, W. , Terrill, J. , Griffin, T. , Hagedorn, J. , Kelso, J. and Satterfield, S. (2010), An Integrated Interactive Visualization and Analysis Environment to study the Impact of Fire on Building Structures, Proceedings of SIGGRAPH 20, Los Angeles, CA (Accessed May 25, 2022)
Created July 25, 2010, Updated February 19, 2017