Fire Simulation for Engineers/FDS/Features

A brief description of the major features of FDS follows.

Hydrodynamic model


FDS solves numerically a form of the Navier-Stokes equations appropriate for low- speed, thermally-driven flow with an emphasis on smoke and heat transport from fires. The core algorithm is an explicit predictor-corrector scheme, second order accurate in space and time. Turbulence is treated by means of the Smagorinsky form of Large Eddy Simulation (LES). It is possible to perform a Direct Numerical Simulation (DNS) if the underlying numerical mesh is fine enough. LES is the default mode of operation.

Combustion model


For most applications, FDS uses a single step, mixing-controlled chemical reaction which uses three lumped species (a species representing a group of species). These lumped species are air, fuel, and products. By default the last two lumped species are explicitly computed. Options are available to include multiple reactions and reactions that are not necessarily mixing-controlled.

Radiation transport


Radiative heat transfer is included in the model via the solution of the radiation transport equation for a gray gas, and in some limited cases using a wide band model.

The equation is solved using a technique similar to finite volume methods for convective transport, thus the name given to it is the Finite Volume Method (FVM). Using approximately 100 discrete angles, the finite volume solver requires about 20% of the total CPU time of a calculation, a modest cost given the complexity of radiation heat transfer.

The absorption coefficients of the gas-soot mixtures are computed using [Grosshandler 1993] narrow-band model. Liquid droplets can absorb and scatter thermal radiation. This is important in cases involving mist sprinklers, but also plays a role in all sprinkler cases.

Geometry and multiple meshes


FDS approximates the governing equations on a rectilinear mesh. Rectangular obstructions are forced to conform with the underlying mesh.

It is possible to prescribe more than one rectangular mesh to handle cases where the computational domain is not easily embedded within a single mesh.

Parallel processing


FDS employs OpenMP, a programming interface that exploits multiple processing units on a single computer. For clusters of computers, FDS employs Message Passing Interface (MPI).

Boundary conditions


All solid surfaces are assigned thermal boundary conditions, plus information about the burning behavior of the material. Heat and mass transfer to and from solid surfaces is usually handled with empirical correlations, although it is possible to compute directly the heat and mass transfer when performing a Direct Numerical Simulation (DNS).