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Investigating the representation of merging behavior at the floor–stair interface in computer simulations of multi-floor building evacuations

Investigating the representation of merging behavior at the floor–stair interface in computer simulations of multi-floor building evacuations

Galea, E.R. ORCID: 0000-0002-0001-6665, Sharp, G. and Lawrence, P.J. ORCID: 0000-0002-0269-0231 (2008) Investigating the representation of merging behavior at the floor–stair interface in computer simulations of multi-floor building evacuations. Journal of Fire Protection Engineering, 18 (4). pp. 291-316. ISSN 1042-3915 (Print), 1532-172X (Online) (doi:https://doi.org/10.1177/1042391508095092)

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Abstract

In this article, the representation of the merging process at the floor— stair interface is examined within a comprehensive evacuation model and trends found in experimental data are compared with model predictions. The analysis suggests that the representation of floor—stair merging within the comprehensive model appears to be consistent with trends observed within several published experiments of the merging process. In particular: (a) The floor flow rate onto the stairs decreases as the stair population density increases. (b) For a given stair population density, the floor population's flow rate onto the stairs can be maximized by connecting the floor to the landing adjacent to the incoming stair. (c) In situations where the floor is connected adjacent to the incoming stair, the merging process appears to be biased in favor of the floor population. It is further conjectured that when the floor is connected opposite the incoming stair, the merging process between the stair and floor streams is almost in balance for high stair population densities, with a slight bias in favor of the floor stream at low population densities. A key practical finding of this analysis is that the speed at which a floor can be emptied onto a stair can be enhanced simply by connecting the floor to the landing at a location adjacent to the incoming stair rather than opposite the stair. Configuring the stair in this way, while reducing the floor emptying time, results in a corresponding decrease in the descent flow rate of those already on the stairs. While this is expected to have a negligible impact on the overall time to evacuate the building, the evacuation time for those higher up in the building is extended while those on the lower flows is reduced. It is thus suggested that in high-rise buildings, floors should be connected to the landing on the opposite side to the incoming stair. Information of this type will allow engineers to better design stair—floor interfaces to meet specific design objectives.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: [1] ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: The authors are indebted to the EPSRC through project HEED (GR/S74201/01 and EP/D507790) for funding this work. [2] The Journal of Fire Protection Engineering is published in association with the Society of Fire Protection Engineers.
Uncontrolled Keywords: evacuation, deference behavior, evacuation simulation, high rise building, stair merging behavior
Subjects: T Technology > TH Building construction
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA76 Computer software
Pre-2014 Departments: School of Computing & Mathematical Sciences
School of Computing & Mathematical Sciences > Centre for Numerical Modelling & Process Analysis
School of Computing & Mathematical Sciences > Centre for Numerical Modelling & Process Analysis > Fire Safety Engineering Group
School of Computing & Mathematical Sciences > Department of Mathematical Sciences
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Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:03
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/1200

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