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Effect of Positive Pressure Ventilation on a Room Fire.

pdf icon Effect of Positive Pressure Ventilation on a Room Fire. (1858 K)
Kerber, S.; Walton, W. D.

NISTIR 7213; 54 p. March 2005.


room fires; ventilation; fuel load; heat release rate; gas temperature; pressure; gas velocity; uncertainity; rooms; doorways; windows; corridors


Fire departments may use ventilation blowers or fans to pressurize a structure prior to suppressing a fire. This pressurization or positive pressure ventilation (PPV) tactic can assist in the venting of smoke and high temperature combustion products and make attacking the fire easier than without PPV. However, this tactic also provides additional oxygen to the fire and can increase the rate of heat and energy being released. PPV has not been characterized carefully enough to establish specific guidelines for optimum use. This study examined gas temperatures, gas velocities and total heat release rate in a series of fires in a furnished room. The use of the PPV fan created slightly lower gas temperatures in the fire room and significantly lower gas temperatures in the adjacent corridor. The gas velocities at the window plane were much higher in the PPV case than in the naturally ventilated scenario. This higher velocity improved visibility significantly. PPV caused an increase in heat release rate for 200 seconds following initiation of ventilation but the heat release rate then declined at a faster rate than that of the naturally ventilated experiment.