A CFD Investigation of Balcony Spill Plumes
McCartney, Cameron John
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A series of numerical modeling studies were conducted to characterize the mass flow rates in balcony spill plumes (BSP), a type of buoyant fire plume occurring in atria. The variation of BSP mass flow rate as a function of elevation, fire size and fire compartment geometry was examined both numerically and experimentally. A new method for estimation of BSP mass flow rates, appropriate for design of smoke management systems in high-elevation atria, was developed based on simulations of BSP mass flow rate. An experimental program conducted in a 12 m high atrium measured BSP mass flow rates as well as temperatures in the fire compartment and atrium. This data was used to evaluate CFD models of the fire compartment and atrium in the experimental facility. These were implemented using the Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS) software. The models were extended to investigate BSP behaviour at elevations up to 50 m. The removal of atrium walls in the model to allow free development of the BSP is a unique approach among published numerical modeling studies of BSP behaviour. The high-elevation CFD model was used to perform a parametric study of BSP mass flow rate as a function of elevation, fire size and fire compartment geometry. Predictions of BSP mass flow rate from this study extend to 50 m above the atrium floor, extending the range of elevations represented in the published experimental data (<= 9 m). Data from the parametric study was used to develop a new method for estimation of BSP mass flow rates at high elevations. BSP mass flow rates estimated using the new method are shown to be bounded by values estimated using existing methods based on low-elevation experimental data.