Fire Technology

, Volume 55, Issue 1, pp 233–255 | Cite as

Improved Assessment of Fire Spread over Horizontal Cable Trays Supported by Video Fire Analysis

  • Pascal ZavaletaEmail author
  • Romain Hanouzet
  • Tarek Beji


Fire safety analyses in nuclear power plants need to assess the heat release rate (HRR) of potential cable fires. This study deals with the FLASH-CAT model which assesses the HRR of a fire spreading over horizontal ladder cable trays. As part of the OECD PRISME-2 project, fire tests which involved horizontal trays supported by a wall, highlighted fast fire growth and large HRR peak. This study investigated the ability of the FLASH-CAT model to predict the HRR for such configuration. The first assessments of the PRISME-2 tests with the FLASH-CAT model significantly delayed the ignition and under-estimated the fire growth rate and the HRR peak. A video fire analysis method was developed and contributed to propose updated input parameters, such as the ignition time and the horizontal spread rate, for cable tray configurations with a wall. In addition, modifications in the model which affect the burning cable tray area and the local fire duration are also discussed. The assessments of the PRISME-2 experiments with the modified FLASH-CAT model and the proposed input parameters are consistent with the measured HRR. In addition, the modified model also gives acceptable predictions of the HRR for numerous tests of the CHRISTIFIRE programme.


CHRISTIFIRE Fire spread FLASH-CAT Heat release rate Horizontal cable trays PRISME-2 Video fire analysis 

List of symbols

\( A\left( t \right) \)

Burning cable tray area (m2)


Alumina trihydrate


Critical heat flux for ignition (kW·m−2)


Specific heat (kJ·kg−1·K−1)


Cable diameter (m)


Spacing between the cable trays (m)


Ethylene–vinyl acetate


Halogen-free flame retardant


Heat release rate (kW)


Heat release rate per unit area (kW·m−2)


Thermal conductivity (kW·m−1·K−1)

\( L_{b,i} \left( t \right) \)

Burning length of a cable tray i (m)


Length of a cable tray i (m)


Length of the gas burner (m)

\( m^{\prime} \)

Linear mass density (kg·m−1)


Combustible mass per unit area (kg·m−2)


Number of cables per tray (–)


Number of cable trays (–)

\( \dot{q}_{f}^{{\prime \prime }} \)

Heat flux from flames to the cable surface (kW·m−2)

\( \dot{Q}\left( t \right) \)

HRR of horizontal ladder cable tray fire (kW)

\( \dot{Q}_{burner} \left( t \right) \)

Fire power of the ignition source (kW)

\( \dot{q}_{avg}^{{\prime \prime }} \)

Average heat release rate per unit area of cable tray (kW·m−2)




Poly(vinyl chloride)


Video fire analysis

VH, i

Horizontal spread velocity or horizontal spread rate along a cable tray i (m·s−1)

Tig, i

Ignition time of a cable tray i for vertical spread (s)


Ignition temperature of the cables (°C)


Initial temperature of the cables (°C)


Tray width (m)

\( x_{e,i} \left( t \right) \)

Location of the extinction front along a cable tray i (mm)

\( x_{f,i} \left( t \right) \)

Location of the flame front along a cable tray i (mm)


Mass fraction of plastic material (–)

Greek characters


Angle formed by the initial V-shaped burning pattern or spread angle (°)

\( \delta \)

Thermal penetration depth (m)

\( \Delta H_{c,eff} \)

Effective heat of combustion (MJ·kg−1)

\( \Delta t_{fire} \)

Fire duration at a given location of a tray or local fire duration (s)

\( \Delta t_{burner} \)

Fire duration of the gas burner (s)

\( \nu \)

Char yield (–)

\( \rho \)

Mass density (kg·m−3)



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire (IRSN), PSN-RES, SA2ISt Paul-Lez-Durance CedexFrance
  2. 2.Department of Flow, Heat and Combustion MechanicsGhent University-UgentGhentBelgium

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