Analysis of Underventilated Compartment Fires
Wolfe, Andrew John
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Little research has been done to examine full-scale unventilated fires despite their common occurrence and relevance. This project was conducted to characterize the fire dynamics of unventilated and partially ventilated compartment fires. A series of fifteen full-scale fires were performed within an instrumented, four room, apartment style enclosure measuring 41.8 m2 (450 ft2). Three different fuel sources, including sofas, kitchen cabinets, and cotton batting, were tested using different ventilation and ignition schemes to analyze the effect of ventilation on fire growth and tenability. The results of these tests allowed for the examination of the effects of ventilation on: general fire dynamics, including fire growth, smoke and gas production, and vitiation; tenability factors including temperature, heat flux and carbon monoxide FED levels; and the ability to utilize forensic tools to determine the cause and progression of a fire.