Computer Modelling in Fire Investigation – Term Paper Example

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The paper "Computer Modelling in Fire Investigation" is a wonderful example of a term paper on science.   Introduction The use of mathematics and science in fire dynamics can be traced back to the 1940s (Nelson, 2002). Because of the application of math in this field of fire dynamics not have lasted for a long time, the field is seen as being young with no advanced development. But putting mathematical and scientific application aside fire can qualify as the oldest and most widely studied phenomenon. Types of models The one type of fire modeling that can be traced back to the history of man is the actual burning process of fuels and putting the results under examination.

The studies are still in use up to date and they form the basis of the profession of fire protection. Currently, standardized tests such as ASTM D1230, D2859, and E603 is used in the illustration of hazards that can be attributed to different types of fuels. Physical fire modeling can be considered as the first major class of fire dynamics modeling, which involves testing and demonstrating fire phenomena using various types of fuels under different scenarios.

The type of tests and demonstration may be categorized as either being small-scale or full scale. In full-scale tests, fire situation is replicated through the creation of a structure or an item which has similar geometric dimensions and there is an attempt for fire phenomena to be reproduced. For the case of small scale test replication of a scenario of fire is done through the creation of a structure or an item whose geometric dimensions and other relevant variables will be scaled down in the attempt of reproducing the fire phenomena. The physical model can be seen as paving the way to mathematical models.

In mathematical modeling mathematical equations are used in the description of the physical models (Beyler, et al 2002). Simply stated, physical models are observed by scientists with the aim of coming up with equations on the basis of the thermal science principle so as to have a match with the physical behavior that is observed. The mathematical equations put into use may range from algebraic equations which are simple and which are used in the prediction of basic fire phenomena like the case in the calculation of fire height calculation too much more complicated partial differential equations applied in the prediction of fire phenomenon in enclosures. In the basic hand calculations use of algebraic equations which are developed through experimental correlations that are applied in the estimation of fire phenomenon which has simple configurations.

This is used in obtaining a quick estimation of a given scenario. It is also important to note that in the higher-level mathematical equations which find application in advanced computer fire models, both zone and field models also have their basis on the hand calculations and experimental correlations.

The hand calculations implementation is done by the use of computer spreadsheets such as Microsoft Excel as a chain of calculations that make the application to be easy to handle. Fire Dynamics Tools (FDTs) is considered to be the most popular; this being a creation of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the model is still under the support of the commission.


Bayler, C., Carpenter, D., Dinenno, P. (2008). Introduction to fire modeling. Fire Protection Handbook 20th Edition. National Fire Protection Association: Quincy, MA.

Beard AN. (1997).Fire models and design. Fire safety J;28:117,38.

Bullen M. L. &Thomas P.H. (1978). Compartment fires with non-cellulosic fuels. Proc Combust Inst.

Nelson, H. (2002). From Phlogiston to Computational Fluid Dynamics. Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE).

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