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Online Access to and Data Analysis Tools for Experiments in Building and Fire Science. Final Report.

pdf icon Online Access to and Data Analysis Tools for Experiments in Building and Fire Science. Final Report. (4497 K)
Woycheese, J. P.; Raghavan, V.; Kim, M.; Geller, F.

NIST GCR 06-894; 90 p. May 2006.


National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD


fire science; data analysis; experiments; computer models; databases; material properties; sensitivity analysis; fire protection engineering; fire tests


Scientists, engineers, and students have computational tools to aid them in their efforts to model and understand fire events. These users, however, must rely on personal judgment to determine appropriate material properties for theoretical analyses and computer models, given the difficulty in obtaining validated inputs for combustion and material properties. In addition, unavailability of, or lack of confidence in, data ranges for these model inputs precludes sensitivity analyses, which would enable users to generate more complete results and to verify their assumptions. Members of the fire science community would benefit from an on-line compendium, including experimental data and tools, information about various concepts or procedures, and multimedia content like videos, photographs, and reports. The pervasiveness of the Web enables access by people from diverse locales, while allowing similar, but geographically remote, audiences to share their knowledge. A number of disparate, individual efforts provide material about fire-science-related topics and there have been a number of studies documenting these electronic resources for the fire field. BFRL/NIST provides the primary on-line libraries for fire protection engineering. The references provided thereby are largely bibliographic in nature, although BFRL-generated documents (in Acrobat Portable Document Format files), modeling software programs, and some limited data are available. The latter is not predominantly web-based, but specific data plots, brief descriptions of facility and experimental caliber, and links to project reports and data files are available through the Fire Data Management System, via the web and CDROM. The National Fire Protection Association provides electronic access to the National Fire Codes, along with a collection of fire investigation and other fire-related reports, has developed an electronic version of the Fire Protection Handbook and has released a CDROM containing the SFPE Handbook of Fire Protection Engineering. The Institute for Research in Construction (IRC) has a publications database that is updated weekly. The Fire Safety Engineering Group at the University of Greenwich has a few animated simulations on their web site; this appears to be a showcase of current and past research, rather than a reference library. These and other collections, such as Firewise, which provides information on urban/wildland intermix fire concepts, would benefit from accessibility through a centralized search interface. Furthermore, the U.S. Fire Administration is studying the feasibility of establishing a national fire service archive, named Heritage Hall, to document and preserve the history of the fire-fighting profession in fire service technology and techniques, fire prevention, emergency medical services, hazmat, rescue, etc. Although these resources provide pertinent and useful information to those who know of them, none provides a centralized collection of material addressing the needs of the above audiences.