Numerical model of upward flame spread on practical wall materials

E. G. Brehob, C. I. Kim, A. K. Kulkarni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


The focus of this paper is the development of a thermal, finite difference numerical model to describe one-dimensional upward flame spread on practical wall materials. Practical materials include composite materials and those that char, in addition to clean burning, homogeneous materials. A set of equations used in the model is developed and the methods for obtaining necessary "fire properties" are discussed. Some of the particular features of the model include the use of a correlation for flame heat feedback and the use of an experimentally measured mass loss rate to incorporate the burning characteristics of practical materials. A comparison of the numerical predictions with the experimental results for flame heights and temperatures are shown for Douglas fir particle board. The model correctly predicts trends but underpredicts the flame heights and pyrolysis height in the cases tested. Two additional cases are shown for materials for which experimentally measured heat release rate data are used in place of the mass loss rate data. The flame and pyrolysis height predictions are in much better agreement for these cases. Further efforts to obtain material property data that is appropriate for flame spread modeling is indicated by this work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-240
Number of pages16
JournalFire Safety Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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