2018 MD Day Demonstration

Each spring, more than 80,000 people come to the UMD campus to enjoy hundreds of free, family-friendly exhibitions, performances and demonstrations showcasing how faculty members and students contribute to the world. Each department is encouraged to creatively display its current research.

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.