Simulation of fire spreading in a residential building: comparing alternative building techniques

Dionysios Kolaitis, Eleni Asimakopoulou, Maria Founti

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Abstract

In this work, a CFD tool is used to study the thermal behaviour of a two-storey residential house subjected to a typical domestic fire scenario. The fire resistance behaviour of the building is evaluated considering two alternative building techniques; steel-skeleton combined with drywall systems and reinforced concrete with brick walls. When gypsum plasterboard is subjected to a high temperature environment, water molecules bound in its crystal lattice are released; this “dehydration” process enhances the building’s fire resistance. The Fire Dynamics Simulator CFD code, developed by NIST, is used to simulate the
momentum-, heat- and mass-transfer phenomena occurring inside the building during a fire; a mixture-fraction model is used to describe the combustion phenomena in conjunction with a radiative heat transfer model. The Large Eddy Simulation (LES) concept is used to describe the developing reactive turbulent flow. The physical properties of the utilized multilayered construction materials are taken into account to accurately describe their thermal response; the highly detailed computational geometry is based on actual architectural drawings. Numerical predictions of the temporal evolution of various quantities, such as gas velocity, gas- and wall-temperatures, toxic gas concentrations, smoke movement and visibility, are obtained for the entire three-dimensional domain that represents the interior of the building. Gas velocity and temperature predictions are used to visualize the developing flow-field and to estimate the heat flux to which each building element is exposed. Predicted wall temperatures allow the comparative assessment of the two investigated construction techniques in terms of fire resistance. Finally, toxic gas concentrations and smoke production and dispersion predictions enable risk assessment for the tenants of the building in the event of a fire.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventMiddle East Conference on Smart Monitoring, Assessment and Rehabilitation of Civil Structures - Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Duration: 8 Feb 201110 Feb 2011
Conference number: 1
https://smar.empa.ch/

Conference

ConferenceMiddle East Conference on Smart Monitoring, Assessment and Rehabilitation of Civil Structures
Abbreviated titleSMAR 2011
CountryUnited Arab Emirates
CityDubai
Period8/02/1110/02/11
Internet address

Keywords

  • CFD
  • Fire modelling
  • Fire spreading
  • Residential building

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    Kolaitis, D., Asimakopoulou, E., & Founti, M. (2011). Simulation of fire spreading in a residential building: comparing alternative building techniques. Paper presented at Middle East Conference on Smart Monitoring, Assessment and Rehabilitation of Civil Structures, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.