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On the Significance of Transient Heat Release Rate Excursions Above a Set Limit.

pdf icon On the Significance of Transient Heat Release Rate Excursions Above a Set Limit. (228 K)
Ohlemiller, T. J.; Peacock, R. D.

Fire Safety Journal, Vol. 43, No. 8, 531-540, November 2008.


heat release rate; furnishings; ignition; fire hazards; methodology; smoke layers; furniture; NFPA 555; room fires; regualtors


When a heat release rate limit for a consumer product is set by a regulatory agency, it is of interest to know whether small excursions above that limit, such as may occur due to production line variability, represent a disproportionate increase in fire hazard. This paper presents a methodology to examine this issue. The heat release rate curve of the object is described by a Gaussian time variation; a perturbation peak, also Gaussian, is added to this main peak. The impacts of the perturbation peak on the build up of hazardous conditions in a room fire (where the object is the only item burning) and on the threat of ignition of secondary items are examined. For the peak heat release rate domain studied here, only the ignition threat is significantly affected by the perturbation peak. The results quantify the trade-off between the height of the perturbation peak and its duration for a fixed percentage of increase in the room area threatened by secondary object ignition. The results show that the increased threat is of the same order as the relative perturbation in heat release rate.