Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

High Rise Fire Study Provides Insight Into Deadly Wind-Driven Fires

11.05.2009
Fire researchers at NIST have just published two reports providing details of how wind affects fires in high-rise buildings.

Fire researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have just published two reports providing details of how wind affects fires in high-rise buildings. A set of instructional DVDs based on the research is available for firefighter training, and will lead to improved safety for civilian and firefighters.

While much is known about wind’s impact on outdoor blazes, little has been known about how a fire rapidly turns into a “blowtorch” —firefighter’s parlance—when a blast of wind enters through a broken window, particularly in high-rise buildings.

Thousands of high-rise apartment fires occur annually. Beginning in one room, a fire can quickly spread smoke, heat and gases through hallways and stairwells, limiting the occupants’ chances to escape and the firefighters’ ability to rescue them. NIST researchers conducted a series of experiments to study the effect of wind on high-rise fires—buildings seven stories and taller—and potential techniques for fighting these fires.

Eight experiments were conducted in NIST’s Large Fire Laboratory, where conditions were controlled and measured. “These tests demonstrated that wind and a simple room and contents’ fire can be extended when wind and an open vent are present,” explained Fire Protection Engineer Dan Madrzykowski. “The temperatures in the flow path reached at least 400 degrees C (752 degrees F)—far higher than a firefighter in full protective gear can survive,” said Madrzykowski.

An abandoned apartment building on Governor’s Island, New York, provided a real-life laboratory for fire researchers studying wind-driven fires and tactics to combat them. The Statue of Liberty can be seen to the left of the island.

The researchers also conducted field experiments in an abandoned seven-story building on Governors Island, New York. The results confirmed the laboratory findings—that conditions created by wind can push hot gases and smoke from the apartment of origin into the public corridors and stairwells.

Researchers experimented with techniques that had a significant impact on reducing the hazardous conditions. For example, firefighters placed a fire-resistant material over windows to block the wind. They also used a “floor below nozzle” that allowed them to spray water through a broken window from the apartment below. The importance of controlling the doors inside a building to interrupt the flow path and stop the spread of fire gases was demonstrated many times during the experiments.

The laboratory tests that NIST and the Fire Protection Research Foundation conducted are described in NIST Technical Note 1618, “Fire Fighting Tactics Under Wind Driven Conditions: Laboratory Experiments”.

The field study, in which NIST teamed with the Fire Department of New York City and the Polytechnic Institute of New York University, is reported in NIST Technical Note 1629 “Fire Fighting Tactics Under Wind Drive Fire Conditions: 7-Story Building Experiments.” (http://fire.nist.gov/bfrlpubs/fire09/PDF/f09015.pdf).

Both projects were supported by the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency Assistance to Firefighter Research and Development Grant Program and the United States Fire Administration.

A double DVD set on the research is available for teaching purposes. It includes a video overview, both reports, a PowerPoint presentation summarizing the results, training videos, and video documentation of all of the experiments. The information is available at www.fire.gov. The DVD set can be ordered by emailing a request to madrzy@nist.gov.

Evelyn Brown | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.fire.gov
http://fire.nist.gov/bfrlpubs/fire09/PDF/f09015.pdf
http://www.nist.gov

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

nachricht Disarray in the brain
18.12.2017 | Universität zu Lübeck

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Optical Nanoscope Allows Imaging of Quantum Dots

Physicists have developed a technique based on optical microscopy that can be used to create images of atoms on the nanoscale. In particular, the new method allows the imaging of quantum dots in a semiconductor chip. Together with colleagues from the University of Bochum, scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute reported the findings in the journal Nature Photonics.

Microscopes allow us to see structures that are otherwise invisible to the human eye. However, conventional optical microscopes cannot be used to image...

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rutgers scientists discover 'Legos of life'

23.01.2018 | Life Sciences

Seabed mining could destroy ecosystems

23.01.2018 | Earth Sciences

Transportable laser

23.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>