Member Summit 2016 - Progress in Fire Protection VE&S at FM Global

Fire protection standards have largely been developed to date by conducting large-scale fire tests. These standards are not fixed and have to be updated as evolving buildings, materials and industrial facilities challenge existing fire protection designs. Often large-scale fire testing becomes prohibitively expensive or impossible to conduct at the actual scale in the existing fire testing facilities. In this situation, Virtual Experimentation and Simulation (VE&S), which describes fire behavior and fire protection on the basis of predictive physical models, has become attractive as a needed alternative and complement to fire testing. A strategic fire modeling program was initiated within the Research Division at FM Global with significant investment in staff and scientific computing. The modeling effort is based on the development of an open-source Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) code. The open-source concept has allowed for wide cooperation with academia and industry to address an extremely challenging modeling scope involving multiple physics in fire growth and fire suppression phenomena. Since the 5th year of the program initiation, fire protection VE&S has become increasingly mature for practical applications gradually replacing the trial-and-error paradigm in fire protection design. The quality of solutions developed at FM Global has further improved, resulting in more timely, efficient, and affordable fire protection options. The challenges, progress, and benefits of this fire modeling effort will be discussed.