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Reduced-Scale Experiments to Characterize the Suppression of Rack-Storage Commodity Fires (NISTIR 6439)



Anthony P. Hamins, Kevin B. McGrattan


A series of reduced-scale experiments were conducted to investigate the burning and water suppression of rack-storage commodity fires. The objective of the research reported here is to support the NIST Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS), a computational fluid dynamics model that endeavors to predict fire growth, spread, sprinkler activation, and suppression by water in rack-storage commodity tires. The model requires appropriate and implementable sub-grid algorithms that adequately represent the full-scale heat and mass transfer that occurs in a warehouse fire with rack-storage of standard commodities. In particular, this report describes experiments that investigated the effect of water application on the time required to achieve ignition of the unburned commodity and on the heat release rate of the burning commodity. Several types of experiments were conducted. These include ignition measurements using the LIFT apparatus and the cone calorimeter, and heat release rate measurements using oxygen consumption calorimetry. All of these measurements were made with and without water application. The data were analyzed using algorithms that were appropriate and readily implementable in the FDS. A description of the experimental apparatus and procedures precedes a description of the experimental results.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 6439
Report Number


pallet storage, experiments, fire suppression, burning rate, cardboard, ignition, water, sprinklers


Hamins, A. and McGrattan, K. (1999), Reduced-Scale Experiments to Characterize the Suppression of Rack-Storage Commodity Fires (NISTIR 6439), NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed May 24, 2024)


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Created November 1, 1999, Updated November 10, 2018