Fire risk analysis (quantification of the impact) - Database

Databases for tools quantifying the impact of fire events include:

1) databases associated with fire effects tools, containing useful information from o fire experiments involving combustible materials located in the considered system, describing how these materials release heat and fire effluents with time, o characteristics of combustible materials, in terms of physical properties to absorb heat and ignite (e.g. thermal conductivity, density, heat capacity, thermal response parameter).

When looking for heat release rates for building contents, from furniture to curtains, from appliances to even cars, a primary source of information is the SFPE Handbook chapter dedicated to heat release rates, written by Babrauskas [1]. This chapter contains numerous references that can lead to a significant amount of data from furniture calorimeters, including heat release rates evolution with time, soot and toxic component yields. In addition, by reviewing NIST publications alone, some fifty different experiments have already been included in a database, along with the available snapshots and videos. This number will be expanded by looking at more NIST studies, as well as tapping into test data from around the world. Before the end of the year 2012, it is planned to include this database in the Vulcan Intiative to get some feedback and possible contribution to the database from engineers across the world.

Radiation transfer is avery important phenomenon to consider when assessing fire spread from the first burning item to the rest of the combustibles located nearby. 3-D fire simulators are able to model radiative heat transfer, which requires a refined characterisation of the flame, in terms of location and height. In consequence, creating Fuel Packages for 3-D simulations seems a useful task to perform so that FPE could directly use them in calculations using the Fire Dynamics Simulator at first.

The fire experiment database could be found here.
The Fuel Packages for 3-D simulations are introduced here.

2) databases associated with the evacuation of building occupants, containing useful information from o experiments related with occupant movement in the built environment, o experiments related with human behavioral response to fire and smoke.

3) databases associated with structural response of the building in case of fire events, containing useful information from o fire experiments related with the partial collapse of a , o characteristics of non combustible building materials, in terms of physical properties to absorb heat.

[1] Vytenis Babrauskas, Heat Release Rates, Section 3, Chapter 1 of the 4th edition of the SFPE Handbook of Fire Protection Engineering, Society of Fire Protection Engineering, National Fire Protection Association, 2008

Alberto Alvarez - WPI (2012-10-09)