CFD Modelling for Smarter Fire Design
Understanding how fire safety systems will perform in practice is key to designing an effective solution. Techniques such as CFD Modelling (Computational Fluid Dynamics Modelling) allow detailed analysis of the building and more accurate planning of systems.
Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modelling uses computer analysis to show how fluid or air moves over a surface or within a space, and is used in a variety of industries including aerospace and automotive design. When applied to fire design, the CFD modelling software uses a detailed virtual representation of the building created from the plans to simulate and map the spread of fire and smoke. It shows how the proposed layout and features of the building will affect the spread of the smoke and also highlights any areas of concern, such as where fire may spread more quickly or areas where smoke is hotter or denser.
This enables the creation of an informed strategy and once the safety systems have been incorporated into the virtual model, the simulation is run again to evaluate the effectiveness of the fire safety systems in their proposed positions and configurations. This allows any areas of development or improvement to be identified and implemented. Importantly CFD modelling can also be used to prove the effectiveness of a strategy and compliance with building regulations.
The superior level of accuracy and detail that CFD Modelling provides allows smoke ventilation and fire suppression systems to be optimised. This provides a greater degree of design freedom and there is often scope to expand room sizes and corridor lengths beyond what is suggested in the fire regulations by demonstrating that the safety of occupants is maintained. However, this is most effective if completed earlier in the project when changes can be made more easily. For this reason, it is important to involve fire safety specialists during the initial phases of the project.
Digital analysis and simulation techniques such as CFD modelling allows a more reliable and tailored approach to designing fire safety systems. This not only prevents costly additional work by ensuring compliance but also allows the building layout to be optimised.
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