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Talk Abstract
Some Unresolved Fire Problems

Patrick J. Pagni
Professor of Fire Safety Engineering Science
Mechanical Engineering Department
University of California at Berkeley
pjpagni@newton.Berkeley.EDU


This presentation addresses three topics, one in each of theme areas identified by the Institute of Mathematics and Its Applications Fire Workshop:

1.) Material Burning Self heating to Ignition of Wood, Charred Wood and Charcoal;

2.) Enclosure Fires Compartment Fire Pressure Histories Particularly Applied to Window Glass Fallout and CO Dispersion. and

3.) Fire Plumes - Wildland and Large-scale Urban Firespread Modeling;

Self heating to Ignition:

Two experimental methods are compared and contrasted for determining the kinetic parameters of wood chips, charred wood chips and charcoal. Two so called hazards described in National Fire Protection Association publications are shown to be myths: Pyrophoric Carbon and Easy Self heating of Charcoal. Methods for preventing the promulgation of these myths are sought.

Enclosure Pressure Histories:

The glass breaking in compartment fires is well understood. The problem of when the broken glass falls out remains. CO production has been clarified by Pitts at NIST. Its dispersion from the source fire has not been described. Examples are given. Mathematical techniques of various sophistication to assess the role of compartment pressurization in both of these problems are sought.

Large Fire Modeling:

"Forest" fire propagation prediction is a dramatic and economically important technical problem. Many portions of this problem remain to be solved. Consensus on the identification of critical features and on the proper mathematical techniques for their resolution is sought.

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