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Numerical Simulations of Fire in Typical Air Conditioned Railway Coach

Authors: Manoj Sarda, Abhishek Agarwal, Juhi Kaushik, Vatsal Sanjay, Arup Kumar Das


Railways in India remain primary mode of transport having one of the largest networks in the world and catering to billions of transits yearly. Catastrophic economic damage and loss to life is encountered over the past few decades due to fire to locomotives. Study of fire dynamics and fire propagation plays an important role in evacuation planning and reducing losses. Simulation based study of propagation of fire and soot inside an air conditioned coach of Indian locomotive is done in this paper. Finite difference based solver, Fire Dynamic Simulator (FDS) version 6 has been used for analysis. A single air conditioned 3 tier coupe closed to ambient surroundings by glass windows having occupancy for 8 people is the basic unit of the domain. A system of three such coupes combined is taken to be fundamental unit for the entire study to resemble effect to an entire coach. Analysis of flame and soot contours and concentrations is done corresponding to variations in heat release rate per unit volume (HRRPUA) of fire source, variations in conditioned air velocity being circulated inside coupes by vents and an alternate fire initiation and propagation mechanism via ducts. Quantitative results of fractional area in top and front view of the three coupes under fire and smoke are obtained using MATLAB (IMT). Present simulations and its findings will be useful for organizations like Commission of Railway Safety and others in designing and implementing safety and evacuation measures.

Keywords: Air-conditioned coaches, fire propagation, flame contour, soot flow, train fire.

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