On April 28, 2018, FPE conducted a live side-by-side burn demo of a typical house fire: a 40-foot trailer, provided and sponsored by the American Fire Sprinkler Association, was split into two small rooms filled with IKEA furniture (bed, dresser, desk and chair) – one with a sprinkler system, one without. A spark was lit and the rooms were soon ablaze, indicating how quickly fire can spread, even with such sparse, simple furnishings.

Prior to the event, a team of six FPE undergrads - Nick Gardner, Cameron Horst, Matt Pfarr, Max Scott, Karli Steranka and Maddie West - worked on a fire modeling research project, demonstrating how computer simulations can assist in the comprehension of fire dynamics, and providing a comparison to the full-scale side-by-side ‘burn.’ The students were tasked to use the Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS) developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and to simulate the two side-by-side burn test scenarios. Simulations were performed on Deepthought2, a large-scale Linux cluster available for teaching and research activities at UMD. The students also produced a movie that can be viewed by following this link.

A fire ‘tornado’ was also demonstrated in the Koffel lab: a room with four specially-located openings, which create a “whirl” when the hood is turned on.