Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD): powerful simulation technology that promotes fire safety


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What is CFD?

Computational Fluid Dynamics, or CFD for short, is used to predict the spread of smoke and heat from fires. In this way, CFD simulations contribute to the fire safety of buildings. But beware, CFD is a job for specialists like Laura Holtslag, Fire Risk Engineer at FPC Risk. We spoke with her about the benefits and challenges of CFD in fire safety.

What are the benfits of CFD in terms of fire safety?

"By thoroughly analysing the results of CFD simulations, you can find out how a fire affects the structure of the building, whether people can escape quickly enough, whether the fire can be kept under control, and so on. It provides valuable information that can be used to design additional fire protection solutions, such as extra compartmentation, the installation of new extinguishing systems or structural changes. Moreover, you can immediately test the effects of these new measures in a new CFD simulation."

CFD proves useful in construction phase

"I recently performed and analysed some CFD simulations for an existing car park. The results showed that installing larger fans would have a positive effect on the fire safety within the building. We also used CFD simulations to determine the best location for these new fans."

"CFD can also contribute a great deal in the construction phase of buildings and structures. The position and location of one particular wall can already majorly effect the fire safety. Obstructions in ceilings, for example, can also have a significant effect on the smoke development within a building. All possible scenarios and their effects can be quickly and accurately tested via CFD simulations."

What are the challenges of CFD simulations?

"CFD is a powerful tool to improve fire safety in buildings. CFD simulations are very accurate and specific, and that is where the big challenge lies. To get reliable results, all the right parameters must be set accurately. Moreover, the results must be interpreted correctly. Setting up and analysing CFD simulations therefore requires specific knowledge that is not present in every fire safety company."

"At FPC Risk, all fire risk engineers receive specific training to use CFD correctly. This way they become real CFD specialists who can give concrete recommendations to improve the fire safety of buildings and constructions."

Laura Holtslag - Fire Risk Engineer

Laura Holtslag
Fire Risk Engineer

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