Air pumping action of a plume in a room fire

Wan Ki Chow

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Air pumping effect of a fire plume to give higher intake rate through vertical openings in a post-flashover room fire will be discussed in this paper. The thermal balance equation was set up with known fire phenomena in a room. The hydrostatic model was applied to study the air intake rate through vertical openings. An equation relating heat release rate to room air temperature rise with empirical constants was then justified by reported experimental data on post-flashover room fire. The heat release rate was measured by the oxygen consumption method in that experiment. The predicted heat release rate from the empirical equation reported in the literature was observed to be proportional to the room air temperature rise as derived from hydrostatics. However, the proportionality constant is lower than the experimental value. A possible explanation is due to neglecting another fire phenomenon on air pumping action of the fire plume in a real room fire. Higher pressure differences across the door would give higher airflow rates across an opening. This would supply more air to give higher heat release rate as observed in the experiment. In this paper, the pressure due to air pumping of the fire plume is taken as a proportion of the hydrostatic pressure due to temperature differences between the upper hot layer and lower cool layer. Comparing the measured heat release rate with the estimated heat release rate due only to hydrostatics will give the air pumping action. The possible increase in heat release rate in a post-flashover fire can then be estimated accordingly.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-102
Number of pages8
JournalBuilding Simulation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2013


  • air pumping
  • analytical model
  • full-scale burning test
  • hydrostatic model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Energy (miscellaneous)


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