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A Simple Model of Thermally-Induced Electrical Cable Failure



Kevin B. McGrattan, Kristopher Overholt


A simple thermal model to predict the failure of electrical power, instrument, and control cables is described. The model is intended as a subroutine for deterministic fire models, and it is of comparable accuracy and simplicity to the activation algorithms for various other fire protection devices (e.g., sprinklers, heat and smoke detectors). Model predictions are compared to experimental measurements of instrumented cables in a variety of configurations. The experimental program, known as CAROLFIRE, was sponsored by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and conducted at Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Details of the experimental program are contained in a separate report.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 7472
Report Number


electrical cables, fire


McGrattan, K. and Overholt, K. (2008), A Simple Model of Thermally-Induced Electrical Cable Failure, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed June 13, 2024)


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Created April 2, 2008, Updated November 10, 2018