Computer simulation of the King's Cross fire: effect of radiative heat transfer on fire spread

2009-12-22T12:47:10Z (GMT) by W. Malalasekera F. Lockwood
A mathematical model has been applied to simulate model experiments of the 1987 King's Cross undergound fire by the Department of Health and Safety Executive. The predicted growth of the fire is compared with the experimental data and in particular the predicted and measured times to 'flashover' are compared. The comparisons show exceptional agreement which, in part, may be fortuitous due to the need to facilitate the prediction of the early stages of the growth with the aid of an experimentally estimated fire strength. The good agreement nonetheless is also due to the full description of the radiation transfer which is a feature of the mathematical model. It is concluded that the flashover phenomenon that occured at King's Cross was thermal radiation driven and that future research should be devoted to modelling the details of fire spread across a combustible surface.