NIST Time|NIST Home|About NIST|Contact NIST

HomeAll Years:AuthorKeywordTitle2005-2010:AuthorKeywordTitle

High Bay Fire Detection Tests.

pdf icon High Bay Fire Detection Tests. (1643 K)
Davis, W. D.

Fire Suppression and Detection Research Application Symposium. Research and Practice: Bridging the Gap. Proceedings. Fire Protection Research Foundation. February 24-26, 1999, Orlando, FL, 265-291 pp, 1999.


fire suppression; fire detection; fire research; fire safety; fire protection; aircraft hangars; ceiling height; smoke detectors; heat detectors; JP-5 jet fuel; JP-8 jet fuel; pool fires; draft curtains; sprinkler response; windows; fire models; wind effects


A series of fire experiments were conducted in two aircraft hangars with ceiling heights of 15 m (50 ft) and 22 m (73 ft). The purpose of the experiments was to analyze the activation characteristics of smoke and heat detectors in response to JP-5 and JP-8 pool fires. The 15 m (50 ft) hangar was located at Barbers Point, Hawaii where ambient temperatures were approximately 30 deg C (86 deg F). The 15 m (50 ft) experiments used fire sizes which ranged from 100 kW (95 Btu/s) to 7.7 MW (7300 Btu/s). Experiments were conducted with and without draft curtains in the 15 m (50 ft) hangar. The 22 m (73 ft) hangar was located at Keflavik, Iceland where ambient temperatures were approximately 12 deg C (54 deg F). The 22 m (73 ft) experiments used fire sizes which ranged from 100 kW (95 Btu/s) to 33 MW (31000 Btu/s). Draft curtains were present for all the 22 m (73 ft) experiments. Open and closed door fire experiments were conducted at both hangars. Commercial detectors used in the series of experiments included spot smoke and heat detectors, bulb and fusible link elements, projected beam smoke detectors, UV/IR optical flame detectors, and a line-type heat detector. Other instrumentation included thermocouples, mass flow meters, and radiometers. The analysis of these experiments has led to the following observations. 1. Draft curtains improved the response time of heat detectors and sprinklers at these heights and reduced the size of the threshold fire needed for activation. Both the plume centerline temperature and the ceiling jet temperature increased in response to the growing layer. 2. Standard response sprinklers either activated substantially slower or not at all when compared to the activation of quick response sprinklers at these heights. 3. Trouble windows used for beam type smoke detectors gave false trouble signals in the presence of dense smoke from JP-5 fires. 2. Tests conducted in the presence of wind and open hangar doors showed that ceiling jet temperatures were substantially reduced but that downwind smoke detectors continued to activate for small fire sizes. Wind speeds inside the hangar ranged from 2 km/h to 32 km/h (1 mph to 20 mph). Based on the observed detector activation, spacing for both spot smoke and heat detectors at these height was analyzed.