Efficient ventilation of smoke from small fires

There are over 180 fire incidents in Norwegian schools per year. Even though most of these fires are small, they can still produce a large amount of smoke. Ideally, the existing comfort ventilation systems would be used to control the smoke movement from these fires spreads in order to increase the fire safety and limit the damage. Traditionally, this has been done by closing both exhaust and supply ducts to prevent the smoke spread to other rooms. However, this solution can be expensive because it requires fire-rated dampers to ensure that the ventilation ducts are closed properly. Furthermore, closing these ducts during a fire can also lead to a pressure-buildup that makes it difficult to open or close doors, thus complicating the evacuation process.

The BRAVENT project will explore an alternative strategy – smoke extraction – that does not rely on certified fire-rated dampers and helps to control the pressure buildup caused by the fire. This strategy may be especially suited for the most common fires in schools, namely small fires with moderate heat generation.

However, there are some challenges associated with adapting the extraction strategy for schools. For example, building layouts vary significantly and this results in a corresponding difference in the ventilation systems. In addition, smoke extraction may lead to soot accumulation in the ventilation system and this can compromise the indoor climate.

In order to address the above challenges, the BRAVENT project has mapped ventilation systems in a number of schools and collected information about fire incidents. The project will use this information to establish a best practice ventillaion solution that ensures efficient smoke control in the event of a fire. The potential for soot accumulation will be assessed through fire testing of the key ventilation components. Finally, the effectiveness of the extraction strategy for small fires will be verified through large scale fire experiments and computer simulations.

BRAVENT is an Innovation Project funded by the Research Council of Norway, program SAMRISK-2, project number 321099, as well as by the partners. The project will run in the period 2021-2024. The project owner is Oslobygg KF, the project manager is RISE Fire Research and the other partners in the project are SINTEF Community, Bergen Municipality, GK Norge and TROX Auranor Norge. 

Publications from Publications from both the current and previous BRAVENT projects can be found here.

The project site at the Research Council of Norway: (link)

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