Application of numerical techniques to study fire growth and smoke movement in an atrium

NRCC-45618 Kashef, A.; Gao, L.; Bénichou, N.

A version of this document is published in / Une version de ce document se trouve dans: 2006 Combustion Institute/Canadian Section Spring Technical Meeting, Waterloo, Ontario, May 14, 2006, pp. 1-6

ca. which is intended to limit the spread of fire and smoke from the floor of fire origin to other storeys inside a building. As a result. and Noureddine Benichou Fire Research Program. Harbin Institute of Technology. smoke management systems have become an indispensable part of fire protection systems in large interconnected spaces with high ceilings.gc. Ottawa.APPLICATION OF NUMERICAL TECHNIQUES TO STUDY FIRE GROWTH AND SMOKE MOVEMENT IN AN ATRIUM Ahmed Kashef. The numerical results were obtained using three approaches: simple correlations. As such. and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) technique. National Research Council of Canada. Fax: (613) 954-0483 .gao@nrc-cnrc. NOMENCLATURE . this paper presents a computational study of fire growth and smoke movement in a mechanically exhausted atrium. zone modeling. Institute for Research in Construction. E-mail address: lixin. This paper compares the predictions of the various numerical models with the experimental data obtained in a series of tests conducted at the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) to investigate the effectiveness of smoke management systems in large spaces. P. R. Lixin Gao†. such as atria and covered malls. Ontario. in floor assemblies. Canada K1A 0R6 †School of Municipal and Environmental Engineering. or series of openings. China 150090 ABSTRACT To evaluate the merits of the different methods of simulating fire dynamics. m: Qc : z: Tp : mass flow rate at height z [kg/s] convective heat release rate [kW] clear height above the top of the fuel [m] average plume temperature at elevation z [°C] Ta : ambient temperature [°C] C p : specific heat of plume gases [kJ/kg°C] C CO2 : volumetric concentration of CO2 at a point ΔT : mean temperature rise above ambient [K] M : molecular weight of air M CO2 molecular weight of CO2 INTRODUCTION An atrium within a building is a large open space created by an opening. thus interconnecting two or more storeys of a building. These buildings present some of the most difficult fire protection challenges with their complex †Corresponding author. an atrium violates the concept of floor-to-floor compartmentation.

using the following equation: T p = Ta + Qc . possibility of containing large quantities of fuel. they are limited to certain fire conditions (e. radiative heat transfer from the smoke layer is small [2]. m = mass flow rate at a height z . The analysis was conducted using predictive models that range from simple correlations through relatively simple computer-based zone models to sophisticated and computationally intensive CFD models. m. (1) Where: . Equation 2 assumes that an upper layer is adiabatic due to the fact that heat transfer from the layer to atrium walls and ceiling is little. (c) Upper layer CO2 concentration Upper layer CO2 concentration can be calculated using the following equation [1]: C CO2 / ΔT = ( M / M CO2 )c p m/ Qc . fire size. and fire scenarios) and are not appropriate outside the scope of these conditions. kJ/kg°C. space dimensions. and the fact that they usually involve a large number of occupants. C p = specific heat of plume gases.geometry. To demonstrate the use of these different computational tools for the fire safetyengineering appraisal of these building types. Moreover. (2) mCp Where: T p = average plume temperature at elevation z .g. z = clear height above the top of the fuel. Simple Correlations Simple correlations are derived from experimental data and provide a simple means of calculating individual factors that collectively can be used in the design of fire protection systems. (b) Upper layer smoke temperature The average plume temperature can be estimated. the fire and smoke movement behavior of a mechanically exhausted atrium has been examined. (a) Steady clear height with upper layer mechanical exhaust For a steady-state condition.071Qc / 3 z 5 / 3 + 0. °C. °C. from the first law of thermodynamics [2]. In general. kW. Equations 1 through 3 present a few correlations that are typically used. kg/s. Qc = convective heat release rate. the mass flow rate into the upper layer is given by [1]: 1 m = 0.0018Qc . (3) Where: . Ta = ambient temperature.

The Consolidated Model of Fire and Smoke Transport. each with a diameter of 150 mm. FDS solves. second-order predictor-corrector scheme. Conditions. DESCRIPTION OF THE EXPERIMENTAL FACILITY The experimental facility [6] was a large compartment with dimensions of 9m x 6m x 5. CFD Models Due to the rapid development of computer technology. the fire plume and the compartment boundary. are assumed to be uniform.1 m. Zone models can produce a fairly realistic simulation under most conditions [3]. were located at the ceiling Figure 1: Test Facility Dimensions (Figure 1). M CO2 = molecular weight of CO2. CFAST. ΔT = temperature rise at the same point. Zone Models Zone models are one-dimensional models that divide a fire compartment into a number of characteristic zones. The details of fluid flow and heat transfer provided by CFD models can prove vital in analyzing problems involving far-field smoke flow. These openings had a width of 0. the lower layer.5m height. and density in each zone. complex geometries.C CO2 = volumetric concentration of CO2 at a point. such as the upper layer. and a total length of 22. fire gases and temperature throughout compartments of a building during a fire [4]. CFAST is a two-zone fire model used to calculate the evolving distribution of smoke.8 m. the use of CFD models to simulate fire development and smoke movement is increasing quickly. K. The current paper uses the Fire Dynamic Simulator (FDS) CFD model [5]. utilizing the Large Eddy Simulation (LES) approach. and impact of fixed ventilation flows. is an example of such group of models. Each zone is modeled separately and then linked together through fluid dynamic and heat transfer equations. M = molecular weight of air. The interior wall surface of the compartment was insulated using 25 mm thick rock fibre insulation. such as temperature. a form of high-speed filtered Navier-Stockes equations valid for a low-speed (low Mach number) fire-induced buoyancy-driven flow. and were used to . pressure. These equations are discretized in space using second order central differences and in time using an explicit. Thirty-two exhaust inlets. A fan was used to supply fresh air into the compartment through openings in the floor around the walls.

the computational domain was divided into a uniform grid of 180 x 120 x 110 control volumes (2.98 & y/Y=0. The first method computes the HRR from the volumetric flow rate of propane supplied to the burner. propane was introduced over an area and at a rate corresponding to the area of the pan used and the HRR of the test being considered. gas inlets were located in the room for extracting gas samples to determine CO2 concentrations at various locations. temperature and volumetric flow rate measured in the main exhaust duct. a constant mass flow rate was assigned based on the quasi-steady state experimental data. and test procedure can be found in [6]. 250 kW in the intermediate stage. A square propane sand burner was used for the fire source. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION For the CFD model. The burner was capable of simulating fires ranging from 15 kW to 1. In the CFD simulations.x/X and y/Y values less than 1).000 node).97 5 min of simulation time to obtain a x/X=0. 0.376. This might be Elevationt (m) . The off-centerline predictions 0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 (few centimeters away from the Temperature (o C) centerline . it took less than 5 Experimental Centerline: x/X=1 & y/Y=1 x/X=0. adiabatic and hydro-dynamically smooth boundaries. The fire was maintained steady for about 15 min at each HRR to allow stable conditions to be reached in the test facility. the propane flow rate was adjusted to a pre-determined level to produce the required HRR.32 m2. The second method was based on the oxygen depletion method using oxygen concentrations.extract hot gases during the tests. Each simulation 4 required a total CPU time of about 300 h. and 600 kW in the final stage of the test. The inlet air temperature was assumed to be 24 °C. 3 Figure 2 shows predicted and 2 experimental profiles of temperature rise along the vertical centerline of the 1 room at the steady state for the 150 kW 0 HRR.58 m2 and 2. At the ceiling vents. appear to be in a better Figure 2: Temperature rise at room center (HRR: 150kW) agreement with the experimental profile. Floor openings were modeled as open vents to allow inlet velocity to freely develop corresponding to the mass flow rate downstream. During the tests.98 x/X=0. The simulations followed a transient approach and continued until steady conditions were established in 6 the room. Typically. The room was instrumented with thermocouples and pitot tubes for velocity measurements. The walls of the enclosure (being insulated with smooth surfaces) were modeled as solid.95 steady solution.145 m2.000 kW with three possible fire areas: 0. At exactly the room centre. The heat release rate (HRR) of the fire was determined using two methods. Also. The volumetric flow rate out of these inlets was continuously measured during a test. there is rather a greater difference between experimental data and predictions. measurements.95 & y/Y=0. More details of instruments.97 & y/Y=0. namely 150 kW in the initial stage.

The correlation predictions compare well with the experimental interface height for the lower HRR. 250 kW and 600 kW. Zone Model.2 0. Similar (HRR: 600kW) observations were previously reported [7]. Comparisons are made for the interface height. CFD results seem to under-predict the interface height and CFAST results seem to over-predict this value.6 0. Elevation (m) 2 Comparisons with Simple Correlations. and CFD model. The predicted temperature profiles at 0 0 10 20 30 40 50 different vertical locations across the Temperature ( C) modeled domain indicate that similar conditions exist throughout the room.3 Figure 3 shows the predicted and experimental vertical profiles of 2 temperature rise at the one-quarter point 1 of the room for 250 kW HRR. upper layer temperature. Similarly. Moreover. Similar observations were noted for the other two HRR. and upper layer CO2 concentration. Experimental Simulation discrepancies exist between the 5 numerical and the experimental 4 profiles. In general. o Elevation (m) attributed to thermocouples being located slightly off the room centre. 6 Experimental 5 Simulation 4 60 Figure 4 shows the predicted and experimental vertical profiles of CO2 concentration at the one-quarter point of the room for 600 kW HRR. and CFD Model Table 1 compares experimental data with results from simple correlations. These discrepancies may be attributed to the differences in values of exhaust volumetric flow rates between experimental and numerical input data and to the thermal radiation estimated by the numerical model.4 0. In this region. Predicted 1 temperature and CO2 profiles show that 0 the two parameters increase with height 0 0. the experimental 3 temperature is uniform and the 2 interface between the hot and cold layers is clearly defined. but there is a great discrepancy for the . especially in the hot layer. Figure 3: Temperature rise along quarter-line supporting the assumption of zone (HRR: 250kW) models that two layers are formed in the room. zone model. While temperature and CO2 6 predictions appear to be realistic. profiles of CO2 concentration at the one-quarter point of the room support the assumption of zone models. the predicted height of the transition layer is greater Figure 4: CO2 profile along quarter-line than the measured data. namely.8 1 1.2 and do not have a layer with uniform CO Concentration (VOL %) temperature.

97 CONCLUSIONS Simple correlations.3 2. Forney. A.. and CFD model (FDS Version 4) were used to evaluate fire protection systems in an atrium space.16 0. National Institute of Standards and Technology. W.23 0. REFERENCES 1.6 2. For the upper layer temperature. G. “Method of Predicting Smoke Movement in Atria With Application to Smoke Management”.0 4.0 3. Comparisons were also presented between results of the simple correlations and zone model.4 3.Technical Reference Guide”.39 0. CFD and CFAST results compare well with the experimental data for lower HRR. W.27 0. NIST . G. National Institute of Standards and Technology. Heskestad. 25:32 (1984). but they are higher than the experimental data for the higher HRR.88 0. but they are higher for the higher HRR. 4. all of the predictive results compare well with the experimental values for the lower HRR. K. NISTIR 5516. 7.1 2. MD.98 CFAST (m) 3..0 Upper Layer Temperature 23 24 25 46 49 47 123 170 171 Upper Layer CO2 Concentration 0. W. while correlation predictions are consistently higher than the experimental data. D. .7 3. For the upper layer CO2 concentration. Klote J. “Engineering Relation for Fire Plumes”. the temperature profiles comparisons showed some differences. P.higher HRR. While the experimental data showed that the temperature in the upper layer is uniform.60 0. “State of the Art in zone Modeling of Fires”.. and Reneke. Comparisons of the CFD predictions with experimental data were performed.13 0. Table 1: Comparison of Predicted and Experimental Data HRR (kW) 150 250 600 150 250 600 150 250 600 Experiment (m) CFD (m) Correlation (m) Interface Heights 4. 3.4 4. R. the predicted temperature was not as uniform. Gaitherburg. In general the comparisons indicated that the predicted upper layer temperatures and interface heights compare well with the experimental values. Peacock. 1994. Jones. W.4 25 46 143 0. 2.. zone model (CFAST).15 0.8 3.7 4.25 0.22 0. 2001. However.. Gaitherburg. Both the results of the simple correlations and the zone model compared well with the experimental data.. Fire Safety Journal. “CFAST – Consolidated Model of Fire Growth and Smoke Transport (Version 6) . MD. P. Jones.

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