ITLApplied  Computational Mathematics Division
ACMD Seminar Series
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Mathematical Modeling of Community-Scale Fires

Ronald Rehm
Building and Fire Research Laboratory, Fire Research Division

Tuesday, December 14, 2004 15:00-16:00,
NIST North (820), Room 145
Tuesday, December 14, 2004 13:00-14:00,
Room 4511

Abstract: For many years now, a team of researchers at NIST has been developing a mathematical model of fire behavior, based on the numerical integration of the equations of conservation of mass, momentum, energy, and species. This model, known as the Fire Dynamic Simulator (FDS), has been tested often by comparison of predicted results with experimental measurements. In conjunction with this model, NIST has also developed a tool, called Smokeview, to visualize the results computed by FDS. The quality, ease of use, dynamic visualization, and low-cost of these tools have made FDS and Smokeview widely used by fire protection engineers to study the growth and spread of fires in buildings. Their value has been demonstrated over the past few years by extensive use in the NIST investigation of the World Trade Center (WTC) disaster. Recently, the FDS model has been extended to include burning of vegetation (trees, shrubs, and ground cover). This extension has allowed the study of fires in wildland fuels and in the so-called wildland-urban interface (WUI) fires. The WUI is defined as areas where both vegetation and structures coexist. WUI fires often arise when wildfires invade the built environment, allowing ignition and fire spread between individual elements, such as trees and structures. This talk will discuss the use of FDS and Smokeview for the prediction and visualization of fires in wildland fuels, in WUI settings, and in communities.

Speaker Bio: Dr. Ronald G. Rehm, a NIST Fellow, received a BS in Engineering Sciences from Purdue University and a PhD in Applied Mathematics from MIT. After ten years as a research engineer at the Calspan Corporation (previously the Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory), he joined the Applied Mathematics Division (the predecessor of MCSD) at NBS. He was a researcher, the Division Chief, and, finally, an NBS Fellow while in applied mathematics at NIST. His research interests include mathematical modeling and computation of fluid dynamics and combustion, particularly related to fires in buildings, wind engineering, and fires in wildland and wildland-urban interface fuels.

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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