Faculty Advisor

Dembsey, Nicholas A.


Combustible materials offer great benefit to builders and architects. The use of combustible materials in exterior wall assemblies is regulated via building codes to limit potential fire spread. Acceptable performance is based on NFPA 285. NFPA 285 is a rigorous full scale fire test whose cost per test is high. This cost severely limits its use by manufacturers for design iterations to optimize their products. Using a previously designed intermediate scale fire test rig, the goal of this project was to design a source fire that simulates the fire of NFPA 285. By utilizing existing 2D plume theory and adapting heat transfer principles; this project developed a source fire to replicate the thermal insult of NFPA 285 which will allow for economical testing related to assembly optimization.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

April 2015


Mechanical Engineering


Civil Engineering

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project



Advisor Department

Fire Protection Engineering