Fire Technology

, Volume 54, Issue 1, pp 187–210 | Cite as

Estimating the Flashover Probability of Residential Fires Using Monte Carlo Simulations of the MQH Correlation

Article

Abstract

An important indicator of fire hazard in residential fires is the occurrence of flashover in the room of fire origin. Since the variability of residential fire scenarios is large, many different cases must be considered to evaluate the hazard of a given flammable product. Efficiently predicting the occurrence of flashover of a naturally ventilated compartment is possible using the correlation of McCaffrey, Quintiere, and Harkleroad (MQH). The large variability in United States (U.S.) living room fire scenarios is characterized from available data and propagated through the MQH correlation using Monte Carlo (MC) simulation. For the parameters, for which no relevant data was found, uniform probability distributions were assumed. The scenarios sampled in the MC simulations generally fell within the range of scenarios for which the MQH correlation has been validated. Flashover probabilities were estimated for fires up to 5 MW in heat release rate (HRR) and up to 8 min in duration. It was found that fires with HRRs less than 400 kW have a flashover probability of less than 0.01% regardless of their duration. Typical furniture fires were used as example cases, and it was predicted that a three seat upholstered sofa with a peak HRR of 2.15 MW has a 90% chance of flashing over a randomly chosen U.S. living room. The results of a global sensitivity analysis indicates that the fire location parameter and the vent opening width are the most important parameters affecting the prediction of the occurrence of flashover in U.S. living rooms. The methodology presented is generalizable, and the results can be readily improved by the collection of more data and the use of higher fidelity fire models.

Keywords

Hazard Probabilistic risk assessment Flashover Compartment fires Monte Carlo simulation Sensitivity analysis 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC (outside the USA) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Institute of Standards and TechnologyGaithersburgUSA

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