UL FSRI Conducts Innovative Fuel Package Experiments
Robin Zevotek
May 17, 2018

As part of the research grant received from FEMA/DHS in 2014 for the “Study of the Fire Service Training Environment: Safety, Fidelity, and Exposure,” FSRI continues to quantify the fire dynamics associated with live-fire training. One important piece of the project focuses on variations in training fuels and their effects on the fidelity (look/feel) of training burns.

To evaluate this, FSRI conducted 21 free burn and 4 compartment heat release rate (HRR) experiments at UL’s headquarters in Northbrook, IL along with 23 training fire experiments in metal container props at the Delaware County Emergency Services Training Center in Sharon Hill, PA.

These experiments looked at how variations in fuel, both NFPA 1403-compliant wood-based fuels and typical home furnishings like sofas and chairs, affected both the energy release rate (i.e., HRR) of the fire along with smoke production, thermal conditions, and the potential for creating ventilation-limited fires. By measuring gas temperature, gas concentration, heat flux, gas velocity, and smoke obscuration (density), these tests look to quantify some common training fuels as compared to room furnishings. The overall goal is not to optimize the training fuel package, but rather to understand the conditions created by the various packages and their potential uses in live-fire training.

These experiments are being analyzed over the next six months with a research report slated for dissemination in August 2018.

Click here to see tables of the fuels used….

Table 1 - Free Burn Heat Release Rate Experiments
Test Fuel Package
1 1 Bale Straw 'Fluffed'
2 2 Bale Straw 'Fluffed'
3 1 Bales Excelsior 'Fluffed'
4 2 Bales Excelsior 'Fluffed'
5 3 Pallets (Tee Pee) & 1 Bale Straw
6 3 Pallets (Tee Pee) & 2 Bale Straw (Extra Underneatd)
7 3 Pallets (Tee Pee) & 1 Bale Excelsior
8 3 Pallets (Tee Pee) & 1 Bale Straw & 2 Sheets OSB
9 3 Pallets (Tee Pee) & 1 Bale Straw & 2 Sheets MDF
10 3 Pallets (Tee Pee) & 1 Bale Straw & 1"x 6" Dimensional Lumber
11 4 Pallets (Vertical) & 1 Bale Straw
12 5 Pallets (Vertical) & 1 Bale Straw
13 6 Pallets (Vertical) & 1 Bale Straw
14 7 Pallets (Vertical) & 1 Bale Straw
15 6 Pallets (Garcia Config.) & 1 Bale Straw
16 6 Pallets (Fisher Config.) & 1 Bale Straw
17 Innovative Rack
18 Ashley Sofa Free Burn
19 Kit Sofa Free Burn
20 Barrel Chair
21 Barrel Chair

Table 2 - Compartment Heat Release Rate Experiments
Test Fuel Package
1 3 Pallets (Tee Pee) & 1 Bale Straw Compartment Burn
2 3 Pallets (Tee Pee) & 1 Bale Straw & 2 Sheets OSB Compartment Burn
3 Furnished Compartment Burn 1
4 Furnished Compartment Burn 2

Table 3 - Metal Training Prop Fuel Experiments
Test Fuel Package
1 Pallets & Straw with Tar-paper
2 Pallets & Straw with Sofa Cushion
3 Pallets & Straw & OSB with OSB Ceiling Hall
4 Pallets & Straw & OSB with OSB Wall/Floor 1/2 Hall
5 Pallets & Straw with Pallets on Floor
6 Pallets & Straw with Smoke Barrel & Leaf Blower
7 Pallets & Straw with 3 Extra Pallets (Garcia Config.)
8 Pallets & Straw with 6 Pallets (Fisher Config.)
9 Pallets & Straw with Extra Pallets in place of OSB
10 Pallets Vertically (3 total)
11 Pallets Vertically (6 total)
12 Pallets & Straw with 1" x 6" Dimensional Lumber in place of OSB
13 1 Bale Excelsior 'Fluffed'
14 1/2 Bale Excelsior 'Fluffed'
15 Furniture (Closed Window)
16 Furniture (Window Open 6 Minutes)
17 Pallets & Hay (Closed Door, Window Open 6 Minutes)
18 Pallets & Straw (Closed Door, Window Open 6 Minutes)
19 Pallets & Straw with MDF
20 Pallets & Straw with OSB
21 Pallets & Straw
22 Pallets Horizontally (3 total)
23 Pallets & Straw with Smoke Barrel

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