FEMTC 2022

CFD Analysis Of Fire Protection Sprinkler System Adapted For A Storage/Sale Rack Of Flammable Liquids

Patricio Valdés Gacitúa - IDIEM – Universidad de Chile


This research was conducted to study and analyze if a sprinkler system designed by NFPA codes would be able to control or extinguish a fire on a storage/sale rack of flammable liquids. The study was carried out through computational simulations in the CFD package denominated "Fire Dynamics Simulator" (FDS) following the technical features of the flammable rack widely used in retail sale throughout several countries in Latin America and Europe.

The intention of the store where the units are installed was to study if a sprinkler system designed under NFPA 30 and NFPA 13 would be capable of controlling or extinguishing a fire produced in the flammable liquids part of the unit. Due to operational and commercial reasons, the racks do not fulfill any design codes such as NFPA 30. Therefore, the stated CFD analysis has been used as an instrument to demonstrate if the sprinkler system would work effectively (due to the unit’s design) and, consequently, it could prevent incorrect fire protection designs.

For this study, a validation case scenario was assessed considering a real fire test in a flammable liquids rack to corroborate the fire propagation. Moreover, the sensitivity analysis was evaluated regarding the fire and sprinkler discharge to obtain the mesh cell size. Lastly, a scenario in which the burning flammable liquids unit interacts with the sprinkler system was analyzed, ultimately obtaining the performance of the sprinklers design.

As a result, it is possible to argue that the CFD analysis was used as an engineering tool to demonstrate that the adaptation of the design of a sprinkler system (proposed by the store), is incapable of controlling or extinguishing the fire in the flammable rack, since these units do not fulfill a design technical code.



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