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Investigation of methods used to predict the heat release rate and enclosure temperatures during mattress fires



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Fires in buildings ranging in size from small residential houses to large office buildings and sports stadiums pose significant threats to human safety. Many advances have been made in the area of fire behaviour modeling and have lead to much safer, and more efficient fire protection engineering designs, saving countless lives. Fire, however, is still a difficult phenomenon to accurately model and the most important quantity used to describe a fire is the heat (energy) release rate (HRR). Predictions of the fire hazard posed by mattresses, using relatively simple modeling techniques, were investigated in this research work and compared to full-scale experimental results. Specifically, several common methods of predicting the HRR from a mattress fire were examined. Current spatial separation guidelines, which exist in order to mitigate fire spread between buildings, were used to predict radiation heat flux levels emitted by a burning building and compared to experimental results measured in the field. Enclosure ceiling temperatures, predicted using the Alpert temperature correlation, and average hot gas layer temperature predictions were also compared to experimental results. Results from this work indicate that the t-squared fire heat release rate modeling technique combined with the common Alpert ceiling temperature correlation, provide a reasonable prediction of real-life fire temperatures as results within 30% were obtained. The cone calorimeter was also found to be a useful tool in the prediction of full-scale fire behaviour and the guidelines used for spatial separation calculations were found to predict the radiant heat flux emitted by a burning building reasonably well.



spatial separation, alpert, t-squared, heat release rate, full-scale fire experiment, field fire experiments, st. lawrence burns, mattress, fire model, upholstery, temperature prediction, fire research



Master of Science (M.Sc.)


Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering


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