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Adoption of numerical analyses in fire prevention

Only experts are generally aware of the dangers of smoke developing inside of buildings in case of room fires. Even relatively small fires can produce large amounts of very toxic fire smoke. Hence, uncontrolled smoke dispersion in buildings very quickly leads to dangerous situations. The majority of fire-induced casualties arises because of flue gas poisoning. We suffocate before we burn.

Ensuring controlled smoke scaventing or preventing smoke dispersion is thus an important part building design. This is true, in particular, for highly frequented buildings such as airports, railway stations, shopping centers, theatres or schools, in which several thousand persons may sojourn simultaneously. For several years there have been attempts to ascertain the effectiveness of fire protection measures by means of numerical simulations. The thermal capacity of the construction elements, the effects of fire extinguishing equipment and fire alarm systems as well as smoke dispersion and smoke discharge have been estimated using a variety of computer based calculation programs, and proofs of legally required protection levels have finally been achieved in some cases. Ideally, safety concepts based on such simulation results would allow for the realization of modern architecture and economically efficient fire protection strategies. Yet, today such simulations are still based on partly far-reaching empirical assumptions and require numerous simplifying modelling closures, e.g., for the representation of turbulent flows, which are still subject to intense research and development. We take up open questions arising in this context in close collaboration with the INURI GmbH (www.inuri.de), focus on practically relevant issues, and jointly support the development of innovative solutions.

[45] Münch, M. and Klein, R. (2007) Critical numerical aspects for field model applications. In: EUSAS conference on Fire Safety Engineering and Smoke Control in Buildings, January 22-23,2007, Vienna.

[46] Münch, M. and Klein, R. (2008) Anforderungen an numerische Berechnungen der Brand- und Rauchausbreitung im Vorbeugenden Brandschutz. vfdb-Zeitschrift Forschung, Technik und Management im Brandschutz, Jg. 57 (3). pp. 145-151. ISSN 0042-1804

[47] Münch, M. and Klein, R. (2008) Critical numerical aspects for field model applications. EUSAS Journal (4). pp. 41-54.

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