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Numerical Simulation of Fire Spread on Polyurethane Foam Slabs.

pdf icon Numerical Simulation of Fire Spread on Polyurethane Foam Slabs. (204 K)
Prasad, K. R.; Kramer, R.; Marsh, N.; Nyden, M. R.

Fire and Materials 2009. 11th International Conference. Conference Papers. Proceedings. Organised by Interscience Communications Limited. January 26-28, 2009, San Francisco, CA, Interscience Communications Limited, London, England, 697-708 pp, 2009.


polyurethane foams; fire spread; simulation; material properties; computational fluid dynamics; experiments; kinetics; thermal decomposition; cone calorimeters; pyrolysis; flame spread; nitrogen; temperature; heat release rate; thermophysical properties; heat flux; polyols; ignition


Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) models are used extensively by fire protection engineers for performance based design and forensic analysis. The equations of motion describing the gas phase are relatively well known and the approximations in the various gas phase sub-models have been extensively studied. However, coupling of the gas phase and the condensed phase to describe flame spread over a burning solid, has proven to be difficult to model. This is due to a lack of understanding of the underlying physical phenomena that take place during the decomposition of the solid as well as poor characterization of the fundamental material properties that control the burning process. The overall goal of this project is to improve the capability of the fire models to predict flame spread over materials that typically burn in a compartment fire. In this paper, we attempt to simulate fire growth and spread on 10 cm thick slabs of polyurethane foam. A multi-layered, multi-material model was developed to simulate flame spread, and material properties were obtained from various small scale experiments. Model predictions were compared with large scale experiments on polyurethane foam slabs, ignited on one edge. Results indicate that the model is capable of qualitatively predicting the observed trends in heat release rate, flame spread rate and heat fluxes measured in the experiments. This report will describe the progress that has been made to date on modeling fire growth and spread on polyurethane foam slabs and the comparison of these results with experimental data.