Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Test Fans The Flames For High-rise Fire Safety

Date:
November 23, 2006
Source:
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Summary:
Reseearchers from NIST, the Chicago Fire Department and the Chicago Housing Authority recently set controlled fires in an abandoned Chicago apartment building to test a new fire-fighting technique -- using powerful fans to force smoke and heat from corridors and stairwells so that they stay passable and safe for both escaping occupants and firefighters.

Members of a research team watch flames erupt from an abandoned Chicago apartment building during a Nov. 10 test of positive pressure ventilation in high-rise fires. Red Truck (lower right corner) is a mobile ventilation system blowing air through the front door of the test building to keep the corridors and stairwells passable, while forcing the fire outside.
Credit: Image courtesy of National Institute of Standards and Technology

The blow-torch-like flames erupting from the windows of an abandoned, 16-story Chicago apartment building on Nov. 10 were certainly dramatic to watch from the street below. However, for a team of investigators from the Chicago Fire Department (CFD), the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the real excitement was what was happening to the environment inside the building's corridors and stairwells.

The controlled fires on the third, 10th and 15th floors of the Windy City high-rise were part of a real-world laboratory experiment to study the effectiveness in multistory buildings of positive pressure ventilation (PPV). PPV is the use of powerful fans during fires to force smoke and heat from corridors and stairwells so that they stay passable and safe for both escaping occupants and entering emergency responders. In past events--such as the October 2003 blaze in a government building in Chicago where six people died--fire flow into corridors and stairwells often has resulted in tragedy.

Eleven NIST researchers worked with more than 70 CFD and CHA staff for the two weeks prior to the experiment to prepare the building. All 16 floors were equipped with temperature and pressure monitors while the three burn floors also included cameras, heat flux gauges and typical apartment furnishings. The entire setup was connected to the data acquisition center by seven miles of cable.

Once the fires were under way, a variety of ventilation tests were conducted. For example, in one test, a large fan was placed at the front door to force cool air up through the building. In another test, two smaller fans--one on the first floor and one two floors below the fire floor, both forcing air into the stairwell--were used to achieve the same PPV effect. Preliminary results from both scenarios show that PPV significantly reduced the temperature and amount of smoke in the corridors and stairwells outside the burn rooms. In one case, the temperature quickly dropped from 316 degrees Celsius to 16 degrees (600 degrees Fahrenheit to 60).

A NIST report on the tests is expected to be released in the spring of 2007.

Three major fan manufacturers and fire departments from New York City; Delaware County, Pa.; Toledo, Ohio; and Ottawa, Canada, also participated in the exercise. Underwriters Laboratories personnel used the setting to assess smoke detector activation in high-rise fires. The experiment was sponsored in part by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute of Standards and Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Institute of Standards and Technology. "Test Fans The Flames For High-rise Fire Safety." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 November 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061123115309.htm>.
National Institute of Standards and Technology. (2006, November 23). Test Fans The Flames For High-rise Fire Safety. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061123115309.htm
National Institute of Standards and Technology. "Test Fans The Flames For High-rise Fire Safety." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061123115309.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Flower Power! Dandelions Make Car Tires?

Flower Power! Dandelions Make Car Tires?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 20, 2014) Forget rolling on rubber, could car drivers soon be traveling on tires made from dandelions? Teams of scientists are racing to breed a type of the yellow flower whose taproot has a milky fluid with tire-grade rubber particles in it. As Joanna Partridge reports, global tire makers are investing millions in research into a new tire source. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) Scientists have developed a new device that mimics the way octopuses blend in with their surroundings to hide from dangerous predators. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) A solar cell that resembles a flower is offering a new take on green energy in Japan, where one scientist is searching for renewables that look good. Duration: 01:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins