We have developed a methodology for correctly inputting input parameters into wood burning models

News, 06.04.2023

The UCEEB CTU Fire Safety Research Team has contributed to the development of a certified methodology that will guide professionals working in the field of building fire safety design and fire investigation in the correct direction when entering input parameters into mathematical models of wood-based panel combustion. The methodology is freely downloadable on the Internet and can also serve as educational material for students of technical disciplines in the field of fire protection.

Mathematical modelling is increasingly being applied as an alternative or extension to fire experiments in the field of building fire safety and fire investigation. However, its outputs are only realistically applicable if they are based on correct input parameters. Therefore, their acquisition and the way to input them into the models was addressed by the Fire Safety Research Team of the CTU UCEEB in cooperation with the Technical Institute of Fire Protection of the General Directorate of the Fire Rescue Service of the Czech Republic and the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague between 2019 and 2022. The project was supported by the Security Research Programme of the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic. 

Our research focused on plywood, particleboard, MDF and OSB boards, which surround us in all types of buildings and significantly contribute to the origin and development of fire. The scope of the project was very broad and included various tests at different scales to determine fire performance characteristics, i.e. the input values to the model, and also large-scale tests to validate them. The final output is a certified methodology that discusses the different fire performance characteristics of the engineered wood boards, the types of tests performed and also the optimal instrument settings to obtain the most relevant data. 

For less detailed CFD analyses, the inputs required worldwide are verified by large-scale tests, of which the heat release rate curve is most often used as the only parameter. Data from large-scale tests have also been used to open a discussion of how dangerous (inaccurate) it can be to use such results without knowledge of boundary conditions.

The methodology was certified by the General Directorate of the Fire Service of the Czech Republic under the number CERO 9/2022 and was developed with financial support from the Safety Research Programme of the Czech Republic in 2015-2022 (BV III/1 -VS) for the project VI20192022120 "Modelling of thermal degradation and combustion of wood-based panel materials".

The methodology is freely available for download.