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Fully coupled fluid-solid simulation of upward flame spread and fire growth

Funded by the European Commission, 2013-2015
Warwick Lead: Professor Jennifer X Wen


Flame spread is an important topic for addressing fire safety concerns. The project is aimed at developing a fully coupled fluid–solid approach to simulate co-flow flame spread over poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) and corrugated cardboards. FireFOAM, the large eddy simulation (LES) based fire simulation solver within the OpenFOAM® toolbox will be used as the basic framework. Validation will be carried out by comparison of the predictions with experimental measurements over a range of flame spread rates. The validated model will then be used to predict upward flame spread in parallel panels typically used in large scale fire tests.
  • Development of a fully coupled fluid–solid approach to simulate co-flow flame spread over PMMA and cardboards at different angles of inclination.
  • To examine and select appropriate solid pyrolysis models for PMMA and corrugated board, including using latest experimental data to enhance existing models.
  • Validation over a range of flame spread scenarios including generic configurations at different scales using primarily PMMA but some latest data using corrugated board typical of warehouse applications.
  • The validated model will then be used to predict upward flame spread in parallel panels representative of large scale fires.

The project will be carried out in collaboration with FM Global. The company will provide technical support as well as data generated using the Flame Propagation Apparatus (FPA) in their Fire Technology Laboratory will be used for model validation.

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The Flame Propagation Apparatus at FM Global.
Schematic of fire growth in parallel panels
(Courtsey of FM Global).

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