Fire & Smoke Propagation

Engineers and architects designing fire and smoke management systems for buildings, subways and other facilities must be mindful of three key factors: safety of the occupants, structural integrity of the facility, and adherence to government regulations. The task of considering all the variables that comprise fire safety system design — including detection and ventilation — is monumental.

The key to managing fire and smoke starts with understanding the multiple physics phenomena that underlie how fires start, develop and affect a structure. For example, based on the building’s specific layout, how and when might a toxic gas develop, where will it spread, and what triggers it to explode? Virtual testing is the most cost-effective and accurate means of determining these factors. It is also the best way to develop systems to prevent and manage fire.

Software from ANSYS allows designers to test variables virtually, to simulate the many possible scenarios and ultimately create the safest systems possible.

Volume rendering animation showing smoke movement

ANSYS simulations of smoke and fire propagation offer detailed, accurate representations of real-life scenarios to aid in planning for emergency evacuation and optimal placement for detectors, fans, extractors and other firefighting equipment. The software can be applied to examine fire suppression systems, low- and high-momentum fires, flashovers, and back drafts. It can be ported to third-party egress software to predict evacuation times.

Simulation allows engineers and designers to analyze the effects of fire and extreme temperature on materials in addition to structural deterioration analysis during catastrophic events such as explosions. ANSYS also enables rapid implementation of smoke-management strategies and is a valuable tool for investigating fire and smoke management after catastrophic events.

A combination of unequalled physics depth and breadth makes ANSYS the right simulation tool for the fire safety industry. The software incorporates:

  • A wide range of turbulence models including RANS and LES
  • A variety of combustion models
  • State-of-the-art grey and spectral radiation solvers
  • Conjugate heat transfer
  • One- and two-way thermal and mechanical coupling
  • Analysis of atmospheric wind on confined or unconfined fires

Computer-aided engineering (CAE) of smoke and fire scenarios is recognized as an essential process in performance-based design. The results of these scenarios create efficient design systems that maintain structural integrity as well as more comfortable living conditions for building occupants.