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October 2019 Lunch & Learn: Large Scale Gas Dispersion Testing & the NFPA Fuel Gas Warning Equipment Standard

  • University of Maryland College Park 3106 JM Patterson Bldg College Park, MD 20742 USA (map)

This presentation will discuss a series of large-scale tests conducted to map the dispersion and detection of natural gas within a two-story test structure. The house, constructed using typical construction methods, contained both traditional and open floor plan configurations. Methane gas, the primary component of natural gas mixtures, was released into the compartment at flow rates typical of a gas appliances and leaks from appurtenances. Numerical simulations of the gas dispersion within the house were completed using NIST’s Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS), an open source computational fluid dynamics (CFD) package.

Alarm thresholds at 10% and 25% of the lower explosive limit (LEL) were applied to the processed data in analysis of test variable trends. Enclosure characteristics, leakage characteristics, and sensor positioning were evaluated in the presented measurement series. This research was conducted to help guide the development of natural gas sensors in residential environments and is aligned with the developing NFPA code on Fuel Gas Warning Equipment.