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Proceedings of the XXVI Iberian Latin-American Cong ress on Computational Methods in Engineering CILA MCE 2005 Brazilian Assoc.

. for Comp. Mechanics (ABMEC) & Lati n American Assoc. of Comp. Methods in Engineering ( AMC), Guarapari, Espirito Santo, Brazil, 19 th 21th October 2005

Paper CIL 0033

SIMULATION OF A COMPARTMENT FLASHOVER FIRE USING HAND CALCULATIONS, A ZONE MODEL AND A FIELD MODEL

Fabio Domingos Pannoni fabio.pannoni@gerdau.com.br Gerdau Aominas S.A. - Escritrio de So Paulo Rua Cenno Sbrighi, 170, 2 andar, Edifcio II 05036-010 So Paulo SP, Brasil Valdir Pignatta e Silva valpigss@usp.br Departamento de Engenharia de Estruturas e Fundaes Escola Politcnica da U.S.P. Av. Prof. Almeida Prado, trav. 2, 271 - 05508-900 - So Paulo SP, Brasil Ricardo Hallal Fakury Francisco Carlos Rodrigues fakury@dees.ufmg.br francisco@dees.ufmg.br Departamento de Engenharia de Estruturas - Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais Av. do Contorno, 842, 2 andar 30110-060 Belo Horizonte MG, Brasil

Abstract: A fully developed compartment fire was modeled in a 5m by 4m by 2,5m high office room. Ventilation was provided through a single open doorway 3m wide and 2,m high. Ignition of a computer on the top of an office table started the fire, that spread throughout the room. This paper discusses attempts to model the conditions within the compartment using three methods; hand calculations (Margareth Laws method), a two zone fire model (OZone, from the University of Lige), and a computational fluid dynamics model (SmartFire, from the University of Greenwich). Some fire growth scenarios were developed using the rate of heat release data from published sources. Predictions for maximum temperatures, upper and lower layer temperatures and fuel burning rate were developed for each methodology or model, where possible. Results from this study show that hand calculations and the zone model are able to reasonably predict conditions within a residential-scale room where the development of a fire is already known and the geometry of the space is relatively simple. In contrast to the zone model, the field model simulation attempts to model fire development at a more fundamental level by considering the thermo-physical properties of the materials rather than simply describing a rate of heat release history. Keywords: cfd models; zone models; fire dynamics; fire simulation

CILAMCE 2005 - ABMEC & AMC, Guarapari, Espirito Santo, Brazil, 19 21th October 2005

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1. INTRODUCTION A range of computational tools exists for calculating conditions resulting from fires in rooms and other enclosures (Friedman, 1992 and Birk, 1991). These tools range from closedform hand calculations, through relatively simple computer-based zone fire models, to very detailed and computationally intensive field models. This full range of tools is used to calculate conditions for a fire in a single naturally ventilated enclosure representative of, for example, a residential living room under a fire. Fire models are based on an understanding of the physical processes involved in a fire. The following is a description of these processes, which are illustrated in Figure 1.

Figure 1 The physical processes of a fire.

The fire normally begins at a single location in one room (although this is not always so, particularly in the case of arson). The burning of a solid item involves two main processes. Firstly, the material is heated to the point where it vaporizes, a process known as pyrolysis. Secondly, the vapor produced mixes with the air and undergoes an exothermic (heat producing) chemical reaction with the oxygen present, a process known as combustion. From the ignition point on the surface of the burning item, the flames spread, increasing the burning area. The combustion process releases heat, smoke and gases which rise from the burning material in a plume.

CILAMCE 2005 - ABMEC & AMC, Guarapari, Espirito Santo, Brazil, 19 21th October 2005

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CILAMCE 2005 - ABMEC & AMC, Guarapari, Espirito Santo, Brazil, 19 21th October 2005

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A field model divides the compartment into a large number of cubes, and calculates heat and fluid flow between each cube and its neighbours using the fundamental equations of physics. For this reason, field models are likely to be more accurate, but require more computing power, and so are more expensive to use. 2. CARRYING OUT A FIRE MODELLING STUDY: THE HYPOTHETICAL ROOM FIRE TEST A room 5 m wide, 4 m deep, and 2.5 m high has one vent that is 2 m high and 3 m wide. This room, used as a small office, shown in Figure 2, has a fuel load of 6 lb/ft2 (511 MJ/m2). The enclosure is made of gypsum plaster, 5 cm thick, with the following properties: Thermal conductivity of enclosure lining = k = 0,47 W/moC Density of enclosure lining = = 1.440 kg/m3 Specific heat of enclosure lining = c = 0,84 kJ/kgoC

Figure 2 The room fire test: an office 5 m wide, 4 m deep and 2.5 m high, with a 3 m wide and 2 m high vent. The fuel load is 511 MJ/m2. 3. HAND CALCULATION USING MARGARETH LAWS METHOD Margareth Law (1983) derived a method of predicting compartment temperatures resulting from fully developed fires based on data from tests conducted under the auspices of CIB. Laws method takes into account the geometry of the compartment. The area of the compartments lining surface through which heat is lost is expressed by subtracting the vent area from the total interior compartment surface area (A-Ao); the temperature in the compartment is therefore dependent on A, as well as variables incorporated in the ventilation factor, Ao, and H. Law derived the following equation to determine the maximum temperature of the compartment with natural ventilation:

CILAMCE 2005 - ABMEC & AMC, Guarapari, Espirito Santo, Brazil, 19 21th October 2005

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T gm

A 0.1 A Ho o 1 e = 6000 A Ao H o

, o C

( )

Where: Tgm A Ao Ho

= = = =

Maximum compartment temperature (oC); Surface area of interior of enclosure (m2); Area of ventilation opening (m2); Height of ventilation opening (m).

This equation does not account for the effects on compartment temperature due to fuel loading. It simply represents the maximum temperature achieved in a compartment for a given geometry and ventilation. The following equation incorporates the effect of fuel loading on the temperature and is valid for wood-based fuels:
T = T gm 1 e 0,05 ,( o C ) Where: = mf AAo = Mass of fuel (kg).

mf

The mass loss rate is correlated as:

m f = 0.18 Ao

H oW D
1/ 2

A 0.036 Ao H o 1 e

, (kg / s )

For

mf Ao

D H o W

< 60

Where:
.

mf W D

= = =

Mass burning rate of fuel (kg/s); length of wall containing ventilation opening (m); Depth of compartment (m).

CILAMCE 2005 - ABMEC & AMC, Guarapari, Espirito Santo, Brazil, 19 21th October 2005

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The duration of burning can be calculated by dividing the total mass of combustibles by the burning rate as follows:

mf
.

, (s )

mf Where is the burning duration, s. Laws method is recommended for all roughly cubic compartments and long, narrow A compartments where is approximately less than or equal to 18 m-1/2. Since this Ao H o hypothetical room is is roughly cubic, Laws method is applicable. A Ao Ho = = = 2(5*4)+2(5*2.5)+2(4*2.5)=85 m2 2*3=6 m 2m

A Ao H o

85 6 2

= 10.02m 1 / 2

The maximum temperature will be:

1 e 0.1*10.02 T(max) = 6000 10.02 o = 1199.56 C

mf
.

, (s )

mf Where: mf mf Afloor mf and

. 5 m f = 0.18 * 6 * 2 * 1 e 0.036*6 = 0.370 kg s 4

= = = =

This equation is valid for:

CILAMCE 2005 - ABMEC & AMC, Guarapari, Espirito Santo, Brazil, 19 21th October 2005

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mf Ao

D H o W

1/ 2

< 60

and, in this case:

0.370 4 6 2 5

1/ 2

= 0.039 < 60

To ensure that predictions are sufficiently conservative using Laws method, the predicted burning rate should be reduced by a factor of 1.4. The adjusted burning rate is then:
.

mf 0.370 mf = = = 0.264 kg s 1 .4 1 .4
.

mf
.

mf

4. A TWO-ZONE MODEL CALCULATION: OZONE

Zone models are numerical tools commonly used to evaluate the development of the temperature of the gases within a compartment during the course of a fire (Stroup, 1995). Based on a limited number of hypotheses, they are easy to use and provide a good evaluation of the situation provided they are used within their real field of application. Different developments of numerical fire modeling have appeared since the first zone models were proposed, including multi-compartment and computational field dynamics models. These models are numerical tools commonly used for the evaluation of the temperature development of the gases within a compartment during the course of a fire. The main hypothesis in zone model is that the compartment is divided in zones in wich the temperature distribution is uniform at any time. In one zone models, the temperature is considered to be uniform within the whole compartment. This type of model is thus valid in case of fully developed fires, contrary to two zones models, which are valid in case of localized fires. In this last type of model, there are hotter layer which is close to the ceiling and a cooler layer which is close to the floor. Although single compartment zone models are the least sophisticated among numerical fire models, they have their own field of application and are essential tools in the fire safety engineering practical applications.

CILAMCE 2005 - ABMEC & AMC, Guarapari, Espirito Santo, Brazil, 19 21th October 2005

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Two-zone models are normally based on eleven physical variables (Quintiere, 1995). These variables are linked by seven constraints and four differential equations describing the mass and energy balances in each zone. The time integration of these differential equations gives the evolution of the variables describing the gas in each zone. The mass balance equation expresses the fact that, at any moment, the variation of the mass of the gas in a zone is equal to the sum of the mass of combustion products created by the fire plus the mass coming into the compartment through the vents and the mass going out of the compartment through the vents. The energy balance equation expresses the fact that, at any moment, there is a balance between the energy which is produced in the compartment by the combustion and the way in wich this energy is consumed: by the heating of the gases in the compartment, by the mass loss of hot air through the openings (including a negative term accounting for the energy of incoming air), by the radiation loss through the openings and, finally, by the heating of the partitions. The term partitions represents all the solid surfaces that enclose the compartment, namely the walls (vertical), floor and ceiling (horizontal). The software used in this simulation was OZone version 2.2.2, that is a code which includes a two zones and a one zone models, with a possible switch from two to one if some criteria are encountered. It thus deals with localized and fully engulfed fires. The main modelers are J.-F. Cadorin and J.-M. Franssen, from the University of Lige, Belgium. The modeling adopted the following criteria: a) The floor and ceiling are made of normal weight concrete, with thicknesses of 15 cm, unit mass of 2300 kg/m3, conductivity of 1.6 W/mK, specific heat of 1000 J/kgK, and relative emissitity of 0.8 (hot and cold surface); b) Walls are made of gypsum plaster on metal, with thickness of 5 cm, unit mass of 1150 kg/m3, conductivity of 0.485 W/mK, specific heat of 1000 J/kgK, relative emissivity of 0.8 (hot and cold surface); c) The fire scenario followed the NFSC design fire; for a 9 m2 maximum fire area, the fire elevation was considered as 1 m, and the fuel height 0.5 m; d) The office has a medium fire growth rate, a rate of heat release of 250 kW/m2, and a fire load of 511 MJ/m2; The data obtained is shown on Figure 3. It can be seen a peak burning rate of fuel of 0.16 kg/sec at 8.00 minutes. The rate of heat release is of about 2,25 MW (the steady state begins at 7.5 minutes, and ends at 29.9 minutes), and it ends at 51,2 minutes. The maximum gas temperature shows a peak of 515oC at 30 min. The zones interface elevation has a peak of 1.35 m at 8.00 minutes.

5. A FIELD MODEL CALCULATION: SMARTFIRE

The SmartFire software system is a suite of inter-coupled tools that allow a user to rapidly, easily and reliably create, simulate and interrogate fire simulation problems. The intuitive components and their User interfaces allow both expert and novice users to specify a fire simulation geometry and scenario, to create a suitable CFD mesh ant then to simulate the effects of the fire scenario over time or for steady state conditions.

CILAMCE 2005 - ABMEC & AMC, Guarapari, Espirito Santo, Brazil, 19 21th October 2005

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The specification tools allow flexibility for the configuration of arbitrarily complex simulation scenarios and the numerical simulation engine is highly interactive with runtime visual and numerical display of intermediate results and various graphs. The SmartFire CFD software is capable of simulating hot, turbulent, buoyant flows modeled in a single arbitrarily sized region, which may contain multiple internal compartments that are separated by walls and partitions.

Figure 3 Data obtained by OZone: mass burning rate of fuel (pyrolysis rate), rate of heat release, maximum (gas) temperature, and zones interface elevation The CFD software uses an unstructured control volume solution technique although the current automated meshing system is limited to creating regular hexahedral control volumes. Fires can be represented as volumetric heat sources (which can be simple, time equation or table fire defined) or a mass sources of gaseous fuel (using the eddy dissipation combustion model). Thermal radiation may be modeled using radiosity, an enhanced six-flux radiation model or a multiple ray radiation model. Turbulence is modeled using a buoyancy modified k-epsilon model. The general flow can be either compressible or incompressible and is modeled using one of the pressure-correction algorithms (SIMPLE or SIMPLEC). The CFD numerical engine of SmartFire is written in portable C++ and has been developed, at the University of Greenwich, from an existing (in house) FORTRAN CFD code.

CILAMCE 2005 - ABMEC & AMC, Guarapari, Espirito Santo, Brazil, 19 21th October 2005

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Inputs required by SmartFire include the geometry of the structure, the computational cell size, the localization of the ignition source, the energy released of the ignition source, thermal properties of walls, ceiling, floors and furnishings, and the size, location, and timing of door and window openings to the outside which critically influence fire growth and spread. The vent (door) was maintained open along this experiment. Figure 4 shows a lateral perspective of the office, from the SmartFire model. Outer walls were removed to show the furniture (a four-place, squared table, plus 4 chairs and an office cabinet, all made of steel/Pine wood, with the a combustible amount very close to one of the authors office ). Sizes are representative of our hypothetical model.

Figure 4 Perspective of the office. Outer walls were removed to show the furniture (a four-place, squared table, 4 chairs and an office cabinet, all made of steel/Pine wood). Sizes are representative of our hypothetical model. The fire started in the office table. This fire source was approximated as a rectangular object representing the table with a specified heat release rate coming out on the top. The table, as the office cabinet, can be seen in Figure 4. The heat release rate of the fire was assumed to grow following t2fire model, for medium growth rate, that is, a power curve of 0.0117 t2, kW. The simple fire (or t2) is configured to reach its maximum heat output after at least three time steps. The simulation results many useful data, some of them shown in Figure 5. Outer walls were removed, to provide clear view. Some results are shown as a slice or a plane with a colour that represents the corresponding numerical quantities. These figures provide snapshots of the calculates fire environment conditions that the office may have been exposed. Results were obtained after 1000 s of simulation or so. It can be seen a rendered perspective 3D geometry, showing door, walls and fire, the gas maximum temperature, the temperatures iso-surfaces and the gas velocity vectors. The upper hot gas layer temperature is approximately 380oC, while near the floor is around 305oC.

CILAMCE 2005 - ABMEC & AMC, Guarapari, Espirito Santo, Brazil, 19 21th October 2005

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Compared to previous two techniques, simulating post-flashover in a compartment using a field model requires more detailed information about the thermal properties of the room contents. At a minimum, for each piece of furniture, plus the walls and carpeting, one needs to know the physical dimensions, thermal conductivity, thermal diffusivity, burning rate per unit area of exposed surface, and the heat of combustion of the material.

Figure 5 - CFD simulation results after 1000 s.

6. SUMMARY
The results of this study might seem counterintuitive at first, with the hand calculation and zone models producing predictions closer to the actual data than the field model. But it must be remembered that the hand calculation and zone model results are based on a specified heat release rate history, while the CFD model attempts to predict heat release rate as part of its computations (Carlsson, 1999). It would be unreasonable to expect a perfect match between model predictions because any calculation method makes certain assumptions regarding the physics and chemistry of a fire scenario, but also because the experimental data is also subject to interpretation. The results show that hand calculation and zone model are able to reasonably predict conditions within a residential-scale room where the development of a fire is already known and the geometry of the space is relatively simple.

CILAMCE 2005 - ABMEC & AMC, Guarapari, Espirito Santo, Brazil, 19 21th October 2005

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The hand calculation and the zone model show similar trends in their predictions and appear to consistently match their results. But, again, the hand calculation and zone models do not attempt to model the development of the fire, but rather rely on the user to supply a rate of heat release curve. Therefore, a comprehensive database of heat release curves for a range of common items is required, so that appropriate data can be selected and methods to integrate several heat release curves from separate items may be also necessary. This is a fundamental limitation with respect to the predictive capabilities of methods that rely on user-specified heat release rate histories. In contrast with zone model, SmartFire attempts to model fire development at a more fundamental level by considering the thermo-physical properties of the materials rather than simply describing a rate of heat release history. This approach holds the promise of providing a better predictive tool where the development of the fire is undetermined. One current advantage of the zone models over CFD models is that they can be quickly executed on a mid-range Pentium PC compared with the higher specification system required by any CFD model. 7. REFERENCES Birk, D.M., An Introduction to Mathematical Fire Modeling, Technomic Publishing Company, Pennsylvania, 1991. Carlsson, J., Fire Modelling Using CFD An Introduction for Fire Safety Engineers, Report 5025, Lund Institute of Science and Technology Lund University, 1999. Friedman, R., Survey of Computer Models for Fire and Smoke, 2nd. Edition, Journal of Fire Protection Engineering, vol.4, no.3, p.81, 1992. Law, M., A Basis for the Design of Fire Protection of Building Structures, The Structural Engineer 61A:5 (January 1983). Stroup, D.W., Using Field Models to Simulate Enclosure Fires, The SFPE Handbook, 2nd. Edition, Section 3 / Chapter 8, 1995. Quintiere, J.G., Compartment Fire Modelling, The SFPE Handbook, 2nd edition, Section 3/Chapter 5, 1995.