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Kuldeep R. Prasad, Roland Kramer, Nathan D. Marsh, Marc R. Nyden, Thomas J. Ohlemiller, William M. Pitts, Mauro Zammarano


The NIST Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS) is used extensively by the fire protection engineer for performance based design and forensic analysis. The equations of motion describing the gas phase are relatively well known and the approximations in the various gas phase sub-models have been extensively studied. However, coupling of the gas phase and the condensed phase to describe flame spread over a burning solid, has proven to be difficult to model. This is due to a lack of understanding of the underlying physical phenomena that take place during the decomposition of the solid as well as poor characterization of the fundamental material properties that control the burning process. The overall goal of this project is to improve the capability of FDS to predict flame spread over materials that typically burn in a compartment fire. In this paper, we attempt to simulate fire growth and spread on 4 thick slabs of polyurethane foam. A multi-layered, multi-material model was developed to model flame spread and material properties as input parameters were obtained from various small scale experiments. Model predictions were compared with large scale experiments on polyurethane foam slabs, ignited on one edge. FDS results indicate that the model is capable of qualitatively predicting the observed trends in heat release rate, flame spread rate and heat fluxes measured in the experiments. This report will describe the progress that has been made to-date on modeling fire growth and spread on polyurethane foam slabs and the comparison of these results with experimental data.
Proceedings Title
Proceedings of the Fire and Materials Conference
Conference Dates
January 26-29, 2009
Conference Location
San Francisco, CA
Conference Title
Fire and Materials 2009


polyurethane foam, numerical modeling


Prasad, K. , Kramer, R. , Marsh, N. , Nyden, M. , Ohlemiller, T. , Pitts, W. and Zammarano, M. (2009), NUMERICAL SIMULATION OF FIRE SPREAD ON POLYURETHANE FOAM SLABS, Proceedings of the Fire and Materials Conference, San Francisco, CA, [online], (Accessed July 18, 2024)


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Created March 17, 2009, Updated June 2, 2021