By analyzing the results of simulations, building designers can understand and evaluate the impact of fire and smoke on structures and human occupants and improve design to reduce risk, limit damage and ensure safe access for fire fighters. Also, CFD is often the only way to prove that projects with complex and unique architectural features are safe and meet the requirements of safety codes.
Simulating fire and explosion scenarios is an important stage of building design. The results can demonstrate that smoke management and fire suppression systems are able to to ensure the safety of occupants and preserve the structural integrity of the building.
BuildWind performs fire and smoke simulation using FDS (Fire Dynamics Simulator) software, a computational fluid dynamics code specifically developed to simulate smoke and heat transport in fire-driven fluid flows. It numerically solves a time-dependent form of the Navier-Stokes equations appropriate for low-speed, thermally-driven flow on a three-dimensional grid. Thermal radiation is computed using a finite volume technique and Lagrangian particle tracking is used to simulate smoke movement, sprinkler discharge and fuel sprays.
FDS has been developed and extensively validated to solve practical problems in fire protection engineering and can be effectively used in applications such as transport of heat and combustion products from fire, heat transfer between the gas and solid surfaces, sprinkler, heat detector, and smoke detector simulation. FDS is intended for use only by those competent in the fields of fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, heat transfer, combustion, and fire science, and is intended only to supplement the informed judgment of the qualified user. Sufficient evaluation of any model is necessary to ensure that users can judge the adequacy of its technical basis, appropriateness of its use, and confidence level of its predictions.
FDS is provided by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) of the United States Department of Commerce and it is currently maintained by the Building and Fire Research Laboratory (BFRL) of National Institute of Standards and Technology. The developers at NIST have formed a loose collaboration of interested stakeholders, including VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE), Engineering departments at various universities and fire protection engineering firms that use the software.