FPE Seminar Series: Improvement of Sub-Models for CFD Wildland Fire Spread Modeling

Friday, February 15, 2019
11:00 a.m.
3106 JM Patterson Bldg, FPE Conference Room
Michael Gollner

Speaker: Dr. Albert Simeoni, Department Head, Fire Protection Engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Title: Improvement of Sub-Models for CFD Wildland Fire Spread Modeling


After making a short presentation of the Fire Protection Engineering department at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), Dr. Simeoni will cover some of the wildland fire research that is ongoing there. Two aspects related to the improvement of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) models of wildland fire spread will be highlighted.

The first aspect will be about soot properties in flames from wildland fuels. The FM Global Fire Propagation Apparatus (FPA) has been used to emulate the conditions encountered by a sample of pine needles burning in a large wildland fire. External conditions have been varied by changing the radiative heat flux impacting the fuel sample and by varying the ambient oxygen concentration. Soot has been sampled at diverse locations of the flame and the soot particle aspect and geometry have been studied with a Scanning Electron Microscope. It was found that the soot geometry varies with both the location in the flame and the external conditions imposed on the samples.

The second aspect covers the drag forces inside vegetation. The importance of drag will be highlighted through the case of a flow in a forest and around a tree. Then, a preliminary numerical study of small-scale drag conducted with a Lattice-Boltzmann Method (LBM) will be presented. The advantage of the LBM method compared to the usual control volume formulation is that the local drag due to single particle elements can be directly calculated while a volume-averaged submodel has to be implemented for a multiphase medium in the control volume approach. The submodels currently in use in the control volume approach have yet to be fully validated in the case of wildland fires. The LBM was tested and validated for simple configurations and showed its potential as a validation tool for the control volume approach.


Professor Albert Simeoni is the Department Head of Fire Protection Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester, Massachusetts. His research covers the development of experimental, analytical, and numerical techniques to better understand fire dynamics and to predict fire and wildland fire behavior. Beyond WPI, he has held academic leadership positions in teaching and research for fire in the UK and in France. He has also experience as a consultant in fire in the U.S. and has spent over 10 years volunteering and working as a firefighter in France. Starting as a volunteer firefighter, he ultimately led all aspects of fire, wildland fire, and rescue operations, in the capacity of Chief of Fire Station.

Audience: Campus 


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