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Determination of Material Property Input for Fire Modeling

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2020
11 pages
This project demonstrated a methodology for determining thermal, physical, and combustion property data for use in predicting the burning behavior of materials in fire dynamics simulations.

This project addressed a need in the forensic discipline of fire and arson investigation, which requires having accurate material properties for input into the material pyrolysis models included in the simulation. The methodology developed used controlled, standard experiments to produce data on the material response, using an optimization routine to quantify the material properties. The method was developed to both minimize the number of experiments while maximizing the accuracy of the properties. The research examined whether more realistic, and thus more accurate, properties can be achieved by limiting the number of properties determined through optimization techniques based on well-designed experiments. A model sensitivity analysis was performed on three different types of pyrolysis models that have a range of sophistication in identifying the level of accuracy each property requires to be quantified. Based on the difficulty and time required to measure properties, as well as the accuracy at which properties must be measured, a methodology was developed to identify which properties should be measured and which must be determined through optimization. The developed methodology was used to determine the properties of seven materials. Thus, this research provides and validates a methodology that practitioners can use to determine material properties for use in their material pyrolysis models and as a benchmark data set for future reference. 3 figures

Date Published: January 1, 2020