An investigation on spill plume development and natural filling in large full-scale atrium under retail shop fire

C. L. Shi, W. Z. Lu, Wan Ki Chow, R. Huo

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


This paper reports an investigation on the scenarios of the spill plume and the resultant natural filling in a full-scale atrium mock-up due to a retail shop fire. The study includes two aspects, i.e., the full-scale experiment and the numerical simulation. A spill plume model is proposed to predict the characteristic properties of the plume development in the atrium under a retail shop fire. Furthermore, to accurately predict the shop fire in the atrium, an improved zone model is developed combining the transport lag time model and the spill plume model. Besides validating the developed model by experiments, the case is also simulated by the established zone model, i.e., CFAST code, and the computational fluid dynamics model, i.e., FDS code. By both physical and numerical experiments, the process of natural smoke filling and the temperature rise in the atrium are investigated and well understood. It is found that a typical spill plume contains three regimes, i.e., the curved section out of the retail shop door, the line plume in the near field, and the axisymmetric plume in the far field. Predictions from the proposed empirical model for the spill plume and the resultant improved zone model compare favorably with the experiments. The study indicates that the atrium becomes very dangerous due to such shop fire if no smoke control employed. The ability of mechanical exhaust system in the atrium to mitigate the hazard of a retail shop fire is investigated as well.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)513-529
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2007


  • Atrium
  • Mechanical exhaust
  • Natural filling
  • Shop fire
  • Spill plume
  • Zone model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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