Fire dynamics

Novel computational techniques are required to offset the cost of high-fidelity simulations of fire in both built and natural environments. Such fires are nearly always distinguished by wide ranges of spatiotemporal scales and physical phenomena, thus placing considerable constraints on the achievable size and complexity of simulations. We have made new progress in using a well-known technique – Adaptive Mesh Refinement (AMR) – to overcome these limitations. With AMR, grid cells are placed only where they are needed to resolve large gradients in velocity, temperature, species, and other user-defined flow quantities. We demonstrate the use of an AMR-enabled FireFOAM solver for simulations of pool fires, and compare simulation results with experimental data and prior computational efforts. Capabilities of the new solver are outlined, with a view towards providing this tool, once completed, to the broader fire modeling community. We also highlight the potential of AMR to enable future direct numerical simulations (DNS) of fire dynamics, in particular using the multi-physics code PeleLM. Such simulations will provide some of the highest-fidelity predictions of fire dynamics to date, and will be made possible through the use of AMR to minimize the computational cost that typically accompanies DNS.

Caelan Lapointe
Caelan Lapointe
PhD student

Caelan’s research is motivated by complex fire phenomena with a focus on industrial and environmental applications.

Jeff Glusman
Jeff Glusman
PhD student

Jeff works on the modeling of pyrolysis and reduced chemical kinetics being integrated into the OpenFOAM framework.

Prakriti Sardana
Prakriti Sardana
PhD student

Prakriti is a graduate student using computational fluid dynamics to study buoyant non-reacting and reacting plumes. Her research interests include computational fluid dynamics as applied to studying fire dynamics and combustion systems.

Peter Hamlington
Peter Hamlington
Associate Professor

Peter is an associate professor in the Paul M. Rady Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder and the principal investigator of the Turbulence and Energy Systems Laboratory.

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