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Methods for Predicting Smoke Detector Activation.

pdf icon Methods for Predicting Smoke Detector Activation. (878 K)
Bukowski, R. W.; Averill, J. D.

U.S./Japan Government Cooperative Program on Natural Resources (UJNR). Fire Research and Safety. 14th Joint Panel Meeting. Proceedings. May 28-June 3, 1998, Tsukuba, Japan, 213-221 pp, 1998 AND Fire Suppression and Detection Research Application Symposium. Research and Practice: Bridging the Gap. Proceedings. National Fire Protection Research Foundation. February 25-27, 1998, Orlando, FL, 64-72 pp, 1998, 1998.


fire suppression; fire detection; fire research; fire safety; smoke detectors; computer models; ionization detectors; light scattering detectors; particle size distribution; response time; smoke coagulation; smoke


With the advent of performance-based codes in the United States, a reliable methodology for predicting the activation time of smoke detectors becomes crucial to the proper consideration of the value of detection systems to meeting performance objectives. This paper will review three approaches for predicting smoke detector activation time. The first method, and the one most frequently cited in the Fire Safety Engineering (FSE) literature is the temperature correlation method. The second approach uses a model comprising a measure of the ease of smoke entry into the detector (characteristic length, L) and a factor which accounts for the physics of the sensing method and aerosol characteristics (detector material response number, DMR). Finally, a rigorous approach involving modeling of physical phenomena will be discussed. The strengths and weaknesses of each approach will be explored in the context of FSE and recommendations for future research will be made.