Carbon Monoxide Levels in Structure Fires: Effects of Wood in the Upper Layer of a Post-Flashover Compartment Fire

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Abstract

This experimental study was performed to determine the effects of wood pyrolyzing in a high-temperature, vitiated compartment upper layer on the environment inside the compartment and an adjacent hallway. This was done by comparing species concentrations and temperature measurements from tests with and without wood in the compartment upper layer. Experiments were performed with a window-type opening and a door-type opening between the compartment and the hallway. In these tests, the wood in the compartment upper layer caused CO concentrations inside the compartment to increase, on average, to 10.1% dry, which is approximately 3 times higher than levels measured without wood in the upper layer. Down the hallway 3.6 m from the compartment with wood in the upper layer, CO concentrations were measured to be as high as 2.5% dry. The use of the global equivalence ratio concept to predict species formation in a compartment was explored for situations where wood or other fuels pyrolyze in a vitiated upper layer at a high temperature.

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