Informal settlement dwellings (ISDs) house approximately one billion people in the developing world and this number is expected to double by the year 2030. Contemporary research on ISD fires has focused on understanding the fire dynamics within individual dwellings (micro-scale) and fire spread in settlements consisting of multiple dwellings (macro-scale). This paper aims to do two primary things: investigate if scaling methods that were derived for compartments with thermally thick boundaries can be applied to ISDs (compartments with thermally thin boundaries), and if they can adequately represent the most important phenomena associated with full-scale ISD fires; and demonstrate Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS) simulations against the Reduced-Scale Experiments (RSEs) conducted in this work by comparing the simulation results and fire behaviour to that of the RSEs. In this work, five RSEs—a 1⁄15 scale, 1⁄10 scale, 1⁄7.5 scale, 1⁄5 scale and a 1⁄4 scale experiment—were conducted. The RSEs are based on the full-scale ISD fire experiments done by Cicione, et al., and were scaled using parameters such as Heat Release Rate (HRR) of the fuel packages, ventilation factors and the overall geometry of the dwellings. The full-scale experiment’s geometry is based on the ISO 9705 compartment fire test. Temperatures, heat fluxes and flame heights for each of the RSEs were recorded and analysed to determine the correlation of the fire behaviour between the RSEs and the full-scale experiments. The results from this study suggest that reduced-scale modeling with RSE models of 1/4 scale and 1/5 scale can be used to replicate an ISD fire with a reasonable level of certainty, depending on the parameter being studied. Limitations and challenges associated with the scaling methods employed are discussed, as not all fire phenomena can be accurately captured.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.