Computational Fluid dynamics modeling of industrial-scale fires

Friday, September 11 • 2:30 PM – UTEB, Rm. 175

Computational Fluid dynamics modeling of industrial-scale fires

Dr. Ning Ren

Fire Hazard and Protection Group FM Global

Abstract: Fire is one of the major causes of property loss. According to the National Fire Protection Association, more than ten billion dollars in fire-induced property damage are incurred annually in the US alone. Understanding fire behavior and improving the design of fire suppression systems are critical steps that can lead to the reduction of fire losses. To this end, fire testing at different physical scales has historically been used at FM Global to provide engineering fire protection solutions/guidelines. In recent years, however, much of this testing has been carried out using computational fluid dynamics (CFD)- based numerical modeling. A novel open-source fire modeling CFD tool has been developed by FM Global (firefoam) and it is designed for modeling the complex interactions of fire related phenomena such as buoyancy driven turbulence/combustion, flame radiation, condensed-phase pyrolysis, sprinkler spray and film flow transport, and suppression. The availability of a fire simulation tool, such as FireFOAM, can not only provide fundamental physical insights into fire dynamics and suppression, but also help design large-scale fire tests more effectively and efficiently. Moreover, numerical modeling can be used to explore some challenging practical scenarios where testing may be difficult, if not impossible, to conduct. In this talk, two numerical studies will be presented to illustrate the use of CFD modeling in fire loss prevention. The first configuration consists of a Class 2 rack storage array, a standard fuel and storage arrangement that is used for the purposes of commodity classification as well as the evaluation of fire protection systems. The second case corresponds to a storage configuration of vertically stacked paper rolls, which is a typical fire hazard in the pulp and paper industry. Details on various sub-models, including pyrolysis, turbulent flow, and flame heat transfer will be presented. Modeling results for two rack storage configurations (3- and 5-tier high) and two roll paper configurations (2- and 3-roll high) will be compared to available experimental data. Modeling results for two additional configurations (7-tier high rack storage and 6-roll high roll paper), for which no experimental data are available, will also be provided.

Biographical Sketch: Dr. Ren obtained his B.S. in Fire Safety Engineering from University of Science & Technology of China (USTC) in 2005, M.S. in Fire Protection Engineering in 2007 and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering in 2010 from University of Maryland – College Park (UMD). He was a postdoctoral associate at Department of Fire Protection Engineering at UMD from 2011 to 2012, before joining FM Global as a senior research scientist. He works on fire suppression modeling using Largeeddy simulation based fire simulator. His research area includes pyrolysis modeling, flame extinction and suppression modeling.

For additional information, please contact Prof. Xinyu Zhao at (860) 486-0241, or Laurie Hockla at (860) 486-2189,


Published: September 11, 2015

Categories: Events and Seminars, Past Seminars

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