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Fire and Smoke Simulation in a Browser

June 20, 2018
Sponsored by SimScale

Maintaining an air quality that meets the defined safety requirements and standards is a key challenge for HVAC Designers and Fire Safety Engineers specializing in designing ventilation systems for parking garages, tunnels, metro stations, commercial buildings or other enclosed spaces. 

ASHRAE highlights the emission of carbon monoxide as one of the most serious concerns presented by car parks. For enclosed parking facilities, the ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 62, “Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality,” recommends 9 ppm or lower as an ambient air quality goal, averaged over eight hours. Other engineering organizations set similar requirements, with 9-35 PPM maximum CO concentration over an eight-hour exposure period, and 100-200 PPM for short-term exposure.

Unfortunately, the prediction of air quality and the planning of carbon monoxide and other pollutants clearance or removal require modeling complex fire scenarios which can be challenging without the access to proper tools. Luckily, SimScale, the provider of the world’s first cloud-based engineering simulation solution, is planning to tackle exactly this problem. The company has announced this month that they have launched the Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS) Preview Program for the HVAC Designers and Fire Safety Engineers interested in using a GUI-driven FDS in the cloud.

To provide some background, the Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS) is a solver developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) of the United States Department of Commerce, in cooperation with VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. Throughout its development, FDS has been aimed at solving practical fire problems in fire protection engineering, while at the same time providing a tool to study fundamental fire dynamics and combustion.

Temperature distribution in a car park fire scenario with SimScale

The FDS Preview Program is a response to the request of many existing customers from SimScale, who were looking to combine the maturity and reliability of FDS for modeling fire and smoke with the convenience and scalability of SimScale’s cloud-based simulation infrastructure. Most of these requests come from AEC (architecture, engineering and construction) companies working on projects that require performance-based design, fire reconstruction, test planning, compliance with fire-related codes and standards, dispersion, calculation of smoke venting systems or indoor air quality. For these companies, using a cloud-based computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software is a cost-efficient and accessible way to maintain good air quality in underground or multistorey car parks, metro stations, tunnels or other enclosed spaces. CFD simulation allows them to virtually test and optimize ventilation for smoke management by providing an easy way to validate exhaust fans, jet fans or ventilation system designs for smoke control.

The SimScale FDS Preview Program will explore and validate an offering of a simple workflow-driven interface for quick and robust modeling and visualization of complex fire scenarios in buildings, particularly parking garages and tunnels. Engineers and companies interested in leveraging cloud-base simulation for modeling fire and smoke can learn more by joining the upcoming “Fire Safety and Smoke Management Optimization with CFD” webinar from SimScale which will take place on the 12th of July at 12 pm EST / 6 pm CEST.