by Richard Chitty (21-Apr-2017)
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Theoretical and experimental investigations involving flashover have been ongoing since the 1950s, initially using small enclosures and scale models to identify the basic mechanisms in the context of domestic buildings, cellular offices and similar sized enclosures using wall linings and building contents typical of the day. While this work is still relevant today for similar enclosures, different mechanisms may be involved, or become dominant, especially in very large and/or highly insulated spaces encountered in modern buildings.
This Information Paper provides an outline of the process of flashover and the factors that influence its occurrence and development. It will be of value to fire risk assessors, fire safety managers, and other safety managers and building managers with some responsibility for safety, as well as community fire safety officers, firefighters and fire investigators. It will also provide a useful summary for those who are new to fire safety engineering.
Development of a fire
- Ignition and growth phase
- The fully developed fire
- Decay and eventual burnout
Fires in an enclosure
- Fire load
- The flashover transition
- The post-flashover fire
- Source of heat (the fire)
- Heat losses from the enclosure
- Heat balance
- Effect of enclosure insulation
- Effect of enclosure ventilation
Quantifying the conditions for flashover
- Estimating time to flashover
Example calculations for time to flashover
- Variation of insulation
- Variation with ventilation
Discussion and conclusions
Rreferences and further reading