Computer thermal fire models are used in hazard assessment for performance-based fire design. Fire field model using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is now a popular design tool. The thermal fire environment can be predicted in a ‘microscopic’ picture with air flow pattern, pressure and temperature contours. However, most of the field models are only validated by some experiments not specially designed for such purpose. Whether those models are suitable for use is queried, leading to challenges. In this paper, prediction on smoke filling in a big atrium by the CFD tool Fire Dynamics Simulator developed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in USA was justified by field tests. Smoke layer interface height and air temperatures inside the atrium were taken as the parameters. CFD results predicted were compared with the field measurement results.

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