Dec 10, 2023  
2023-2024 General Catalog 
2023-2024 General Catalog
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FIR 127 - Fire Behavior and Combustion

Last Date of Approval: Fall 2021

3 Credits
Total Lecture Hours: 45
Total Lab Hours: 0
Total Clinical Hours: 0
Total Work-Based Experience Hours: 0

Course Description:
This course explores the theories and fundamentals of how and why fires start, spread, and how they are controlled.

Prerequisites/Corequisites: None

Mode(s) of Instruction: Traditional/face-to-face

Credit for Prior Learning: There are no Credit for Prior Learning opportunities for this course.

Course Fees: None

Student Learning Outcomes and Objectives:
Course Outcomes:        

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to: 

  • Identify the fundamental theories of fire behavior and combustion. 

  • Differentiate the various types of extinguishing agents. 

Student Learning Outcomes: 

  • Explain the importance of measurement in understanding fire behavior. 

  • Name the basic SI units of measurement and convert between valuse in SI units and English units. 

  • Understand the precision of a measurement and the reduced precision used in estimations. 

  • Explain the differences between mass and weight and among energy, heat, and enthalpy. 

  • List the chemical elements that are especially important in fires. 

  • Describe atomic mass and dimension. 

  • Describe molecules, compounds, free radicals, and ions. 

  • Recognize the bonding features of an organic fuel from its name. 

  • Find further information about atomic and molecular properties. 

  • Name the three basic states of matter found in the material world and explain how they are characterized. 

  • Describe the phase changes among these states and the change in enthalpy associated with each. 

  • Write and use the ideal gas law. 

  • Balance a chemical equation for the combustion of a material during a fire. 

  • Estimate the heat released during burning based on the balanced chemical equations using the mass of oxygen consumed. 

  • Understand the meaning of fuel-lean, stoichiometric, and fuel-rich combustion. 

  • Explain why the outcome of a combustion reaction is determined by thermodynamics, while the rate of the reaction is determined by chemical kinetics. 

  • Describe ideal and realistic flame temperatures. 

  • Describe the basic laws of motion and gravitation. 

  • Calculate pressures in a standpipe and a stairwell. 

  • Calculate the velocity of a falling object and the time it takes to reach the ground. 

  • Describe potential and kinetic energy. 

  • Describe the effects of fluid viscosity and bouyancy on fire flows. 

  • Name and explain the three modes of heat transfer. 

  • Explain why radiative heat transfer in fires is especially important. 

  • Explain the difference between an intensive property and an extensive property of a material. 

  • Calculate the heating rate of an object due to heat conduction and radiation. 

  • Describe the difference between thermally thin and thermally thick materials. 

  • Describe the structural hazards that can result from loss of fire resistance. 

  • Calculate the burn hazards to people from exposure to convective and radiative heat. 

  • Describe how the U.S. fire incidence database enables development of a national profile of fires and fire losses. 

  • Define the process of combustion. 

  • Explain flammability, in terms of both fire properties and practical application. 

  • Explain the nonflaming and flaming stages of fire. 

  • Discuss the fire tetrahedron and explain how it is a focus for a unified view of fire initiations, growth, and termination. 

  • Discuss the terms fire consequences, hazard, and risk. 

  • Describe the categorization of flames. 

  • Characterize laminar and turbulent flames. 

  • Define deflagration and detonation, and explain the difference between the two. 

  • Discuss flammability limits and burning velocity, as well as their relationship to fire hazard. 

  • Understand the difference between piloted ignition and autoignition. 

  • Explain the potential hazard from a gas leak. 

  • Explain the importance of chain branching in combustion chemistry. 

  • Describe the flash point, fire point, and autoignition temperature of a flammable liquid. 

  • List the three classes of flammable liquids, based on flash point and potential ambient temperatures. 

  • Define the linear burning rate of a pool of liquid and explain why it varies with the diameter of the pool. 

  • Describe the physical considerations that affect the rate of flame spread of flammable liquids. 

  • Explain boilover. 

  • Explain a boiling liquid/expanding vapor explosion (BLEVE). 

  • List the three significant differences between the burning of a solid fuel and the burning of gaseous and liquid fuels. 

  • Describe the thermal and chemical processes that result in the ignition and burning of a solid. 

  • Describe how char formation and melting occur and how they affect the burning rate. 

  • List the types of combustible solids. 

  • Describe the types of polymers and explain how they gasify. 

  • Describe at least four classes of mechanisms by which fire retardant aditives act to modify the ignition and burning of solids. 

  • Discuss the use of calorimetry to measure the heat-release rates of materials and products. 

  • Describe the two main types of smole aerosols and explain why they are important in fires. 

  • Explain how soot forms. 

  • Describe the two principal methods for quantifying the aerosol content of smoke produced in an experimental fire. 

  • Describe the smoke-point height method for estimating the relative sooting tendency of a gaseous fuel. 

  • List some relationships between fuel chemistry and sooting tendency. 

  • Estimate the mass of burned fuel that can lead to loss of visibility due to smoke obscuration. 

  • List the principal combustion products formed in fires. 

  • Explain the principle of operation for ionization smoke alarms and photoelectric smoke alarms, and identify the differences in what they detect. 

  • List the hazards to people and property from a fire. 

  • Explain the following tpes of harm from a fire: acute effects, postexposure effects, and chronic effects. 

  • List the most important toxic gases in smoke. 

  • Explain the differences between narcotic gases and irritant gases. 

  • Explain the concept of fractional effective dose. 

  • Explain the underlying principle of Haber’s rule. 

  • Explain the concept of limiting hazard and its role in fire protection. 

  • Describe the three zones of the plume of a fire burning in the open and calculate the air entrainment into the flame and the height of the luminous flame. 

  • List three reasons why the nature of the ceiling jet is important. 

  • Calculate the mass outflow from a room in which a steady-state fire is burning. 

  • Estimate the minimum rate of heat release that leads a room to flashover. 

  • List nine reasons why calculating the smoke flow through most buildings requires a computational model. 

  • Distinguish among fire extinguishment, fire control, and fire inerting. 

  • List the four classes of fires, as used in the United States. 

  • Describe the different ways in which water suppresses a fire, depending on its method of delivery and the geometry of the fire, and list the types of fires on which water should not be applied. 

  • Describe the roles of suppression-enhancing additives to water. 

  • List the types of nonaqueous fire suppressants. 

  • Understand why the use of halon fire extinguishers has been curtailed. 

  • Explain how powdered fire extinguishants are effective on a fire. 

  • Explain the value in using computer fire modeling. 

  • Describe the difference between a deterministic and a probabilistic fire model. 

  • Describe the characteristics of both zone and field models. 

  • Describe the difference between retrospective and prospective use of a fire model. 

  • Explain model variation, model verification, and model accuracy. 

  • Explain the limitations of computer fire models. 

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