ITLApplied  Computational Mathematics Division
ACMD Seminar Series
Attractive Image NIST

Modeling And Visualizing Fire Without Getting Burned

Glenn Forney
Building and Fire Research Laboratory, Fire Research Division

Wednesday, June 29, 2005 15:00-16:00,
NIST North (820), Room 145
Wednesday, June 29, 2005 13:00-14:00,
Room 4550

Abstract: Modeling and visualization are intimately linked in most mathematical models, especially those models that generate lots of data. For the ultimate purpose of any model is to gain understanding and the purpose of visualization is to help achieve that end. This talk will give a brief overview of fire models and how visualization is used to understand their results. Fire models range in complexity from simple one-line correlations, to systems of ordinary differential equations (zone fire models), to systems of partial differential equations (PDEs). The zone fire modeling equations, though simple to write down, have interesting mathematical subtleties due to the relationship between pressure and other solution variables. The equations are stiff and special techniques are required for their solution. PDE-based fire models such as the Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS) can easily generate gigabytes of data. Smokeview was developed to visualize FDS-generated data. It uses techniques ranging from traditional displays of animated 2D and 3D contours to a recently developed technique for visualizing smoke realistically using the opacity/"alpha" plane hardware present in most modern video hardware. Some of the technical details will be discussed. Using realistic visualization techniques allows one to think about nontraditional applications of our fire models such as fire fighter training.

Speaker Bio: Glenn Forney received his PhD in Mathematics from Clemson University in 1984. Before coming to NIST in 1986, he worked at the Mobil Research and Development Corporation on the numerical aspects of an oil reservoir simulation implemented on a Cray 1M. While at NIST he has worked on the development of robust and efficient zone fire models as well as tools to visualize and understand the results of the Fire Dynamics Simulator. In collaboration with others, Glenn received a Bronze Medal in 1999 for developing web-based tools for accessing NIST-developed fire publications, the BFRL Communication Award in 2000 for developing visual presentations of fire dynamics, and a Silver Medal in 2001 for developing the visualization tool, Smokeview, to accompany the Fire Dynamics Simulator.

Presentation Slides: PDF

Contact: P. M. Ketcham

Note: Visitors from outside NIST must contact Robin Bickel; (301) 975-3668; at least 24 hours in advance.

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