U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Development of an Interactive Database of Contemporary Material Properties for Computer Fire Modeling

NCJ Number
Daniel Madrzykowski
Date Published
11 pages

The research project presented in this paper had the overall goal of improving fire modelling capabilities for fire investigations by improving the quality, quantity, and accessibility of materials input data available to a fire model user.


The author of this paper describes a research study that was designed and conducted in a series of five major tasks: conduct a literature review; hold a workshop to develop initial materials list and measurement methods; perform experiments; compile and analyze data; and build an experimental data repository and interactive database. The three goals for the project were: to develop material properties and fire test data on a combination of at least 70 construction materials, interior finishes, and furnishings for use as fire model input; to transfer the experimental results through (National Fire Protection Association) NFPA 921 and peer reviewed reports, onsite trainings and seminars, and interactive online content, transferring data gained from the lab into forensic standard operating practices; and to demonstrate and test the use of the database for hypothesis testing. The author concludes that a dataset of the size and breadth of data that was collected for this project, provides users of the database with an unprecedented opportunity to improve understanding of fire behavior and causality in fire spread and growth scenarios. The author also reports no limitations to access of the data by the public, however one current limitation of the Fire Safety Research Institute (FSRI) Materials and Products (MaP) database is the relatively low maximum temperature of the thermal conductivity data that has been measured. The author also suggests that additional analysis of the dataset will allow for the discovery and development of new correlations between properties and fire behavior and improvement of existing correlations. The correlations are the simplest form of fire models and may be used by fire investigators and engineers in the field to propose and test hypotheses. Links to the databases discussed are included in the Artifacts section.