Fire Modeling Tools Improved
Models are an invaluable tool for many areas of research, especially when systems are very complex or very dangerous. Fires would fall into both categories, so it is not surprising that computers models exist to try to predict how it behaves, and how well suppression methods will work on various conflagrations. Researchers at NIST first publicly released the Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS) in 2000 and have recently released its sixth version, with new algorithms and routines to make it more accurate than ever.
Like many other situations, knowledge is critical for fighting fires, but gathering it is not always going to be as easy as striking a match. Some situations are going to be too dangerous for a real-life test, and sometimes you want the information after a fire has burned out. This is where the FDS comes in handy by accurately modeling the situations presented to it, from house fires to fires in substations, nuclear facilities, aircraft cabins, and more.
Previous versions of FDS and the accompanying Smokeview applications have already contributed to improving firefighter tactics across the planet. So far the volunteer translations services and rewritten the programs' documentation into at least fifteen languages.