Characteristics of Externally Venting Flames and Their Effect on the Façade: A Detailed Experimental Study

Asimakopoulou, Eleni orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-5644-1372, Chotzoglou, Konstantinos, Kolaitis, Dionysios and Founti, Maria (2016) Characteristics of Externally Venting Flames and Their Effect on the Façade: A Detailed Experimental Study. Fire Technology, 52 . pp. 2043-2069. ISSN 0015-2684

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In a compartment fire, externally venting flames (EVF) may significantly increase the risk of fire spreading to adjacent floors or buildings; EVF-induced risks are constantly growing due to the ever-increasing trend of using combustible materials in building facades. The main aim of this work is to investigate the fundamental physical phenomena associated with EVF and the factors influencing their dynamic development. In this context, a series of fire tests is conducted in a medium-scale compartment-façade configuration; an n-hexane liquid pool fire is employed, aiming to realistically simulate an “expendable” fire source. A parametric study is performed by varying the fire load density (127.75, 255.5 and 511 MJ/m2) and ventilation factor (0.071 and 0.033 m3/2). Emphasis is given to characterization of the thermal field developing adjacent to the façade wall. Experimental results suggest that the three characteristic EVF phases, namely “internal flaming”, “intermittent flame ejection” and “consistent external flaming”, are mainly affected by the opening dimensions, whereas the fuel load has a notable impact on the fuel consumption rate and heat flux to the façade. Fuel consumption rates were found to increase with increasing fire load and opening area, whereas the global equivalence ratio increases with decreasing opening factor. The obtained extensive set of experimental data can be used to validate CFD fire models as well as to evaluate the accuracy of available fire design correlations.

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