An experimental study of full-scale open floor plan enclosure fires

J. P. Hidalgo, A. Cowlard, C. Abecassis-Empis, C. Maluk*, A. H. Majdalani, S. Kahrmann, R. Hilditch, M. Krajcovic, J. L. Torero

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A full-scale experimental series is undertaken to generate a comprehensive data set to study and characterise fires in large open-plan spaces, typical of contemporary infrastructure and Tall Buildings in particular. Developments in the understanding of enclosure fire dynamics for large spaces is intended to complement the knowledge of relatively smaller, low ventilation spaces developed from the extensive body of research that underpins the original compartment fire framework. A total of twelve experiments are conducted, ten using box gas burners and two using a bed of wood cribs. Both the fire development and ventilation characteristics are varied systematically to enable the careful examination of the effect of each on the fire dynamics within the compartment. For this set of tests, sensor instrumentation is, as far as practicable, provided at a resolution to enable benchmarking of field models. These tests form part of the Real Fires for the Safe Design of Tall Buildings Project. The current paper, the first in a series of publications, provides a thorough description of the full-scale experimental compartment, the various sensing techniques deployed within it, and the range of combined fire and ventilation conditions for each of the twelve tests performed. Characteristic results from the first experiment that forms part of the ‘Edinburgh Tall Building Fire Tests’ (ETFT) test series are presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-40
Number of pages19
JournalFire Safety Journal
Early online date23 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017


  • Compartment fire framework
  • Enclosure fire dynamics
  • ETFT
  • Full-scale experiments
  • Large open-plan compartment
  • Tall buildings


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