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A Case Study of Two Computer Methods Used to Simulate Fires in Industrial Facilities

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Fire when uncontrolled can create mass destruction. In the movie Backdraft, Robert De Niro plays a senior fire investigator who claims to his young eager apprentice that Fire is a living, breathing, thing that must be treated with respect to understand. Some anthropologists suggest that early humans discovered fire through spontaneous combustion. The arrangement of decaying organic matter may have been enough to generate a small fire. Conventional anthropologists argue that fire may have been first discovered in forest fires started by lightning, lava flows or other natural causes. Fire is real and must be controlled. An area to best control and minimize its destructive effects is during the design process. The design concerns for fire include Control of ignition Control means of escape Detection Control Spread of fire Prevention of structure collapse. Prior to controlling the spread of fire one must be able to predict its behavior. One promising method for doing this is with computer modeling. This technology was used by the US Navy in a unique governmentindustry partnership in analyzing fire in aircraft hangars. With the high cost of modern aircraft, detector and sprinkler activation methods were evaluated to determine a quicker response to small fires with the benefit of reducing damage to aircraft adjacent to the fire source. Along with full scale experiments - computer modeling played a role in formulating new approaches. The computer model should simulate the response of the facility fire control system for the fire. The simulation can be used to evaluate weaknesses in the fire control system. In the long term to make this simulation capability accessible to the architect or engineer from the desk top. Consequently, the user would choose components for parameters to run a fire hazard scenario and see its predicted results.

Subject Categories:

  • Computer Programming and Software
  • Manufacturing and Industrial Engineering and Control of Production Systems
  • Safety Engineering

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