While backdraft events continue to pose a serious danger to firefighters, the events are still poorly understood. During a backdraft, oxygen is introduced through a sudden opening in the compartment and the accumulated products of incomplete combustion ignite in a rapidly developing fire. A similar phenomenon to a backdraft is a smoke explosion, during which a closed compartment suddenly erupts without a sudden opening; the only introduced oxygen is through leakage into the compartment. This project discusses scale live-fire experiments in replicating a smoke explosion, provides explanations of backdrafts and smoke explosions, and compares smoke explosions and backdrafts. Understanding the phenomena and recognizing the warning signs of fire events such as backdrafts and smoke explosions is paramount to firefighter safety.
Fleischmann, Charles M., and ZhiJian Chen. Defining the Difference Between Backdraft and Smoke Explosions. The 9th Asia-Oceania Symposium on Fire Science and Technology, Procedia Engineering 62, p. 324-330. 2013.
© 2013 International Association for Fire Safety Science.
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