Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Richard L. Custer, Advisor

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Craig L. Beyler, Advisor

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

David A. Lucht, Department Head




This thesis demonstrates how the response of fire detection and automatic sprinkler systems can be designed or analyzed. The intended audience is engineers involved in the design and analysis of fire detection and suppression systems. The material presented may also be of interest to engineers and researchers involved in related fields. National Bureau of Standards furniture calorimeter test data is compared to heat release rates predicted by a power-law fire growth model. A model for calculating fire gas temperatures and velocities along a ceiling, resulting from power-law fires is reviewed. Numerical and analytical solutions to the model are outlined and discussed. Computer programs are included to design and analyze the response of detectors and sprinklers. A program is also included to generate tables which can be used for design and analysis, in lieu of a computer. Examples show how fire protection engineers can use the techniques presented. The examples show how systems can be designed to meet specific goals. They also show how to analyze a system to determine if its response meets established goals. The examples demonstrate how detector response is sensitive to the detector's environment and physical characteristics.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Fire Protection Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





automatic sprinkler systems, fire detector, fire plume, Fire sprinklers, Design, Data processing, Fire detectors, Design, Data processing