ENFE602-21S1 (C) Semester One 2021

Fire Dynamics

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 22 February 2021
End Date: Sunday, 27 June 2021
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 7 March 2021
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 14 May 2021


Introduction to heat transfer problems in fire engineering including steady state and transient conduction, convection and radiation. Fundamentals of burning objects from combustion chemistry, ignition, flame spread, flame heights and fire plumes.

In this course, students will develop and adapt their knowledge on (1) the heat transfer mechanisms (conduction, convection and radiation), (2) the evolution of heat release rate curve, and (3) the formation of fire plume to various fire engineering scenarios, such as ignition of solid fuels, combustion of single common combustible and characteristics of an axisymmetric plume from a fire source. The assignments and project are designed to remain relevant to the Fire Safety Engineering Practice.

Learning Outcomes

 Analyse analytically and numerically the temperature distribution in a solid via steady-state thermal conduction.

 Formulate a 1-dimensional numerical heat transfer model including transient thermal conduction and hybrid convective/radiative boundary conditions.

 Estimate the convective and total heat transfer coefficient reasonably for common fire engineering scenarios.

 Evaluate the radiative heat flux from a burning object.

 Analyse the ignition mechanism for gases, liquids and solids.

 Balance chemical equation and adapt the concept of equivalence ratio for combustion of fuels.

 Estimate heat release rate of steady-state pool fires using correlation, and formulate heat release rate of common combustibles using oxygen depletion calorimetry.

 Estimate heat of combustion from chemical heat of formation, and develop effective heat of combustion from experimental results.

 Assess fire hazards, and compile the different phases of heat release rate curve for common combustible fuels for application in fire safety design of buildings.

 Interpret the characteristics of different fire plume regions (continuous, intermittent and plume) and estimate the temperature, velocity and mass flow profiles of the plume.


Equivalent Courses


Timetable 2021

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Intensive Block Course A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Wednesday 09:00 - 17:00 E10
8 Mar - 14 Mar
Intensive Block Course B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Thursday 09:00 - 17:00 E10
8 Mar - 14 Mar
Intensive Block Course C
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Friday 09:00 - 17:00 E10
8 Mar - 14 Mar
Intensive Block Course D
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Monday 09:00 - 17:00 E12
19 Apr - 25 Apr
Intensive Block Course E
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Tuesday 09:00 - 17:00 E12
19 Apr - 25 Apr
Intensive Block Course F
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Wednesday 09:00 - 17:00 E12
19 Apr - 25 Apr

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Dennis Pau


Andres Valencia


The self-study weekly modules contain practice problems which are aim to guide and enforce your understanding of Fire Dynamics. You need to attempt these practice problems in a timely fashion in order to keep up with the learning in this course.

Ignition Lab Report: Students will work in groups of minimum 3 to carry out a series of ignition experiments in order to formulate the analytical correlation used to predict the ignition of solid. Results analysis will utilise the data collected by the entire class, and the key findings will be documented in a report. The assignment is worth 5% of the course marks.

Cone Calorimetry Lab Report: Students will work in groups of minimum 3 to carry out a series of cone calorimeter experiments in order to evaluate the heat release rate of burning object. Results analysis will utilise the data collected by the entire class, and the key findings will be documented in a report. The assignment is worth 5% of the course marks.

Virtual Design Fire Project: Students will work in groups of 2 to develop a set of specific design fires (heat release rate curves) that will challenge the Fire Safety Engineering Design of a building with known occupancy. The proposed design fires must be supported by scientific, engineering-based calculations, justifications and references. The submitted report should detail the relevant building descriptions, a review of the fires expected in the building, summary of available data from the literature, engineering analysis, conclusions and recommendations for the design fire for the building and its occupancy. The assignment is worth 20% of the course marks.

Reports: The submission documentation must each be submitted as a single document through LEARN in PDF format. The recommended format is at least 10-point Times New Roman or Arial and 1.15 spaced text. Page lengths do not include cover sheet etc. Pages are A4 only. If you want to use colour in your reports be aware that we do not always print out documents on a colour printer so, try as much as possible to make your reports readable in black and white. Correct use of English, appropriate SI units, etc. are required. Late submissions are not acceptable and will incur severe penalties.

Competency Test: Students will be expected to have a minimum level of competency to pass this course. The Competency Test is designed to assess the minimum level of knowledge required for Fire Dynamics. This test will be 1 hour and is immediately before the Mastery Test. There will be a minimum grade to pass the Competency Test and passing this test guarantees at least C- in this course. Special considerations do not apply for the Competency Test and it is a pass/fail assessment.

Mastery Test: Students will be assessed comprehensively through the final Mastery Test. The Mastery Test is a written assessment designed with more challenging and open ended questions similar to Fire Engineering scenarios. Special considerations do not apply for the Mastery Test and it is worth 70% of the course marks.

The Competency and Mastery Tests will be scheduled together during the exam period, near the end of Semester 1 (Term 2). The precise timing will be determined in due time. The tests will be offered in Christchurch, and distance students will need to arrange for a local Chartered Professional Engineer (CPEng) of Engineering New Zealand to invigilate the tests. More details will be provided in Block Course 2.

The final grade for the course is based on the individual grades attained in the lab reports, project and Mastery Test.

Textbooks / Resources

Required Texts

Hurley, Morgan J. et al; SFPE Handbook of Fire Protection Engineering; Springer New York : Imprint : Springer, 2016.

Karlsson, Bjorn. , Quintiere, James G; Enclosure fire dynamics; CRC Press, 2000.

Below are a list of required readings for the course, and you will be provided with guidance on specific chapters of these literature to assist with your learning.

 A Heat Transfer Textbook, 5th Edition; https://ahtt.mit.edu/

 SFPE Handbook of Fire Protection Engineering, 5th Edition; https://link-springer-com.ezproxy.canterbury.ac.nz/book/10.1007%2F978-1-4939-2565-0

 Enclosure Fire Dynamics, 1st Edition; https://www-taylorfrancis-com.ezproxy.canterbury.ac.nz/books/enclosure-fire-dynamics-bjorn-karlsson-james-quintiere/10.1201/9781420050219
Some lecture handouts will be made available on LEARN. The lecture notes are provided for your convenience and might contain errors and omissions. It is the students’ responsibility to ensure that the missing information are identified, understood and corrected appropriately as part of the learning process. Please ensure any equations or relationships applied in the lab reports, project and tests are attained from credible references and not directly from the lecture notes.

This course, especially the Virtual Design Fire Project will require your ability to formulate scientific, engineering-based justifications to support the assumptions and inputs you propose in your design fires. Several fire engineering journals within the literature, such as Fire Safety Journal, Fire Technology, etc. can be accessed from the UC Library, and will be useful sources of information.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,114.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Civil and Natural Resources Engineering.

All ENFE602 Occurrences

  • ENFE602-21S1 (C) Semester One 2021