VC-21-C041 — Fire Propagation in Rail Environments


Conference Proceeding by ASHRAE, 2021



This paper is an application of the design fire determination methodology from the paper “Railcar Design Fire Determination – Testing and CFD Modelling” by Bilson and Liu (to be presented at the 2021 International Symposium on Tunnel Safety and Security), in the context of different rail environments. Full-scale railcar fires are modeled using the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software Fire Dynamic Simulator (FDS). Case-studies are presented to examine the effects of fixed fire-fighting systems (FFFS) and environmental conditions on fire spread/propagation behavior and the heat release rate (HRR) curve of a railcar system. Both one and two railcar configurations are modeled, along with consideration of open versus closed gangways. Results show that in an environment with ample width (such as a railyard), fire spread may be limited to one railcar, independent of both railcar configuration (open/closed gangways) and application of FFFS. For a more constrained environment (such as a tunnel), fire can readily spread to an adjoining railcar with open gangways, but the use of FFFS and widening of tunnel environment can greatly reduce the fire propagation and HRR. These results prove that the railcar design fire determination methodology proposed by Bilson and Liu can be used as a tool during the design stage of construction to provide an environment best suited for life safety during fires.

Citation: 2021 Virtual Conference Papers

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