Heat Flux Through Walls Tech Panel

Technical Panel for Heat Flux Through Walls Holds First Meeting

July 27, 2022

The technical panel for UL’s Fire Safety Research Institute (FSRI) Evaluation of Heat Flux Profiles Through Walls in Support of Fire Model Validation research project convened its first meeting on July 18, 2022. Newly named panel members from the fields of research, fire investigation, firefighting and fire modeling attended the virtual meeting, which was led by FSRI research engineer, Matt DiDomizio.   

As part of a two-year research grant funded by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the research will focus on heat transfer and fire damage patterns on walls and fire model validation to support fire investigation applications.

DiDomizio kicked-off the meeting by introducing the motivation, scope and impact of this novel research collaboration between FSRI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - Fire Research Laboratory (ATF-FRL). During the meeting, DiDomizio presented the initial research approach, experimentation design, and apparatus. 

“Fire investigators need to have confidence in the application of fire models to support investigation and validation data is needed to demonstrate that utility,” said DiDomizio. “The Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS) is the most widely adopted fire modeling application because it has a robust verification and validation suite. However, FDS does not currently have validation data for two-dimensional heat flux and surface temperatures, three-dimensional heat transfer, thermal degradation and two-dimensional damage patterns on the wall. This project will begin to fill these important gaps.”

Panel members shared ideas for how they leverage fire models in fire investigations, the capabilities they believe could enhance fire models to aid investigations, and their experiences relating fire exposures and fire dynamics to fire effects. They also discussed how they measure and document fire damage patterns for mass loss and discoloration in the field. Their insights into real world applications will be taken into consideration as the experimentation plan is finalized over the coming weeks.

The primary output of this work will be a well-documented and publicly available dataset, report and analysis.  Planned experimentation is expected to produce validation data for heat transfer and fire damage patterns on walls exposed to fires. Property data will be collected for the materials involved, such as insulation, steel, and gypsum wallboard, and researchers intend to develop a method to measure field heat flux and temperature on a wall. Experiments are scheduled to begin in August.

Evaluation of Heat Flux Profiles Through Walls in Support of Fire Model Validation