BULETINUL INSTITUTULUI POLITEHNIC DIN IAŞI Publicat de Universitatea Tehnică „Gheorghe Asachi” din Iaşi Tomul LIV (LVIII

), Fasc. #, #### Secţia CONSTRUCŢII. ARHITECTURĂ

THE INFLUENCE OF THE WINDOW OPENINGS TO THE FIRE SPREAD OUTSIDE A FIRE COMPARMENT
BY

RUXANDRA DÂRMON*
Abstract. The factors which influence directly the shape and the severity of fire plume outside a ventilated compartment are determined by the environmental and the enclosure fire conditions, acting in combination and influencing each other. Inside the fire compartment, these factors control whether flashover occurs or not, determining or not the outside fire spread. If the flashover occurs, the external fire plume will be influenced by the smoke control system, by the window glass breakage, but also by the shape, the size and the number of window openings. Choosing different shapes for window openings can increase or diminish the convective heat transfer. In this article are compared the effects that different shapes and dimensions for window openings may have on fire spread. Key words: fire plume, ventilation factor, size of openings, flame spread.

1. Introduction

The fire spread on exterior claddings can be a significant hazard nowadays, when is common the use of combustible materials like polystyrene, polyurethane, wood, polyvinyl for insulating the outside walls. Especially in the case of high-rise buildings the fire propagation can happen fast from floor to floor via exterior claddings creating a hazardous situation not only for the building occupants, but also for the firefighters. The upward fire spread mechanisms were investigated by Oleszkiewicz [1], who concluded that the fire can spread vertically through the combustible cladding systems, by “leap-frogging” when the flames projected out of a lower window ignite the combustible materials from inside an upper floor, or by the failure at the junction of a floor and exterior wall. Another study [2] stated the dominant mechanism for upward fire spread is via openings in exterior walls.

*

Corresponding author: Ruxandra Dârmon, Teaching Assistant, Engineer, Technical University of Cluj-Napoca e-mail: Ruxandra.DARMON@cif.utcluj.ro

Later. which is the point termed flashover.6 m wide and 2. quantity and distribution. by their nature.4 m long. Fig.5 m high. The factors which influence the fire spread outside a fire compartment Early research about the size and temperature of the fire plume issued from a window opening and the buoyancy effects which cause the flame spreading upwards outside a building was conducted in the 1950`s and 1960`s by Yokoy [3]. 4. Some One Else and Perhaps Another Therefore. Law and O`Brien [6] and Law [7] resumed the conclusions from the studies before and developed a heat transfer model setting the expression for flame height and burning rates of different fire scenario. depending on the available oxygen in the room. In order to study the effect of window form on flame spread outside the fire compartment were conducted four Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) numerical simulations in a residential room of a size of 5. among the factors affecting the fire plume emerging from a window. Webster [4] and Seigel [5]. 2. The combustible materials in an enclosure have an important influence in the growth phase of a fire. it requires the understanding of the conditions inside a fire compartment and the evolution of fire in the early stages. Once ignited the first item. 1 – The factors which influence the upward fire spread on the frontages 2.2 An Author. Drysdale [9] associates the flashover with one of the three possible events: the radiation flux attains 20 kW/m2. the temperature in the upper layer close to the ceiling is around 600 ˚C or the flames emerge out of the . a great importance has the size and the form of the opening. the fire will grow to a “state of total surface involvement in a fire of combustible material within an enclosure” [8].1 The factors from inside the fire compartment To estimate the development of the flames on the building frontage.

The materials used for lining the frontage have an important role in the further flame spread to the upper levels. In the fire safety literature the effects of the compartment size and window openings are taken into account by two correlative parameters: the ventilation factor ᴪ [10]. (the same as opening factor [11] denoted O in EC1) and the reciprocal opening factor. # (#).2 The factors from outside the fire compartment Most of fires in enclosure are ventilation . AT = total area of the compartment – enclosing surfaces (m2). Inst. (1) ψ = Aw Ho1/2 / AT . However in real natural fires the trajectory of the flame is deflected horizontally in the direction of the wind.Bul. f. being described in terms of HRR. while flames emerging from a wide or squared opening. can project one and a half times the window`s height. When the oxygen supply is limited the un-burned hot fuel and gasses flow out through the window opening and ignite the combustible claddings. Most of fire tests are carried out in laboratory assuming a characteristic velocity of the wind of 1 m/s. The reciprocal opening factor is used to represent the area of the compartment surfaces relative to the opening ventilation parameter. h = the window height (m). equal with Awh1/2. Oleskiewicz didn`t consider the resulting fire . Ho = weighted average of the opening height (m). Burning rate is a general term for estimation of the rate at which thermal load is consumed by fire. In this stage are released large quantities of smoke and toxic species because of incomplete combustion process. thus the cladding system can be designed to reduce the vertical fire spread outside of a building. Heat release rate is the direct measure of a fire evolution. in case of wood and other charring materials. Polit. He noticed that flames emerging out from a narrow window will project upward on a distance equal with half of the window height. The nature and the amount of combustible materials and also the ventilation condition influence the mass loss rate in a fire. #. Iaşi. 3.controlled. 2.1 Window shape Oleszkiewicz stated that there is a correlation between the shape of the window opening and the form and height of the fire plume emerging out of a window. There are relatively few studies concerning the influence of the environmental conditions on the fire development on the frontages. η [12]. #### 3 window opening. Where: Aw = area of the openings (m2). [13] Howbeit. mass loss rate or charring rate. The window openings influence on the external flames 3. t.

below. as shown in the Table 1.4 x 1. . the heat release rate.3 1.39 0. equal with 250 (kW/m2) for dwellings Where: (table E. The heat release rate was estimated accordingly SR EN 1991-1-2 [11] for dwellings using the following formula: (2) . Temperature [˚C] 870 870 920 970 Maximum HRR [kW] 5466.2 Numerical simulations using Fire Dynamics Simulator – Version 5 For this paper were investigated four ventilation fire scenarios. The room has one window opening and one door.4 x 1.4 Ventilation influence on the maximum temperature in the fire compartment The maximum temperature in the fire compartment was not affected by increasing the ventilation with 15 % of the window opening surface. In the design fire scenario was modeled the post-flashover stage of the fire.044 0.05 m1/2 the maximum temperature in the fire compartment increased as shown in the Figure 2.6 x 1.06 3.5 m.39 8517. on the opposite side of the window. entrainment effects and the specific effects due to the window shape. Some One Else and Perhaps Another plume form.27 6912. There were carried out four numerical simulations corresponding to four fire scenarios. developed by National Institute of Standards and Technology and VTT Finland.8 x 1.62 Maximum burning rate [m/s] 0.3 Numerical simulations results The numerical simulations were carried out using the program Fire Dynamics Simulator – Version 5. Table 1 Numerical simulations results Fire scenario 1 2 3 4 Window size [m x m] 1. 3.4 An Author.05 0. The four ventilation scenario numerical simulation results are summarized in Table 1.047 0.5) [11] the floor surface of the fire compartment.12 6059.3 1. The fire compartment was a room in a residential building having the surface of 4. changing only the width of the window.29 0.65 Opening factor ψ [m-1/2] 0. 3.6 m x 5. All the fire scenario came under the case of ventilation-controlled burning in the room. For a ventilation factor over 0.3 2.4 m and the height of 2.3 Max.23 0.

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