Siberian Federal University: Krasnoyarsk Scientists Improve the Efficiency of Fire Robots

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SibFU scientists together with their colleagues from the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations have developed a simulation modelling method for cooling building structures using fire robots. Timely cooling with water helps prevent the collapse of supporting structures as a result of overheating. The proposed technique can also be used to study the effectiveness of fire extinguishing.

Fire robots are an effective innovative means of fire protection. They can extinguish the flame with a jet of water or special foam without the presence of personnel in the hazardous area. The robot is an automatic device that manipulates trunk in a spherical coordinate system. It is equipped with fire detection and program control devices. As conceived by the developers, such a robot can replace a firefighter in hazardous areas, extinguishing and localizing a fire or cooling equipment and building structures. Fire robots can be equipped with infrared scanners for automatic fire detection and TV cameras for video monitoring. The aircraft maintenance hangar at the Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport, the Zenit Arena stadium (St. Petersburg), the launch pad of the Vostochny Cosmodrome and other important facilities have already been equipped with such robots.

In some buildings, fire safety is complicated due to the danger of collapse of the supporting building structures. In particular, metal structures suffer already at 500°C, and in such cases, fire robots are used to cool them down. To evaluate how effectively fire protection equipment works, scientists use simulation modeling.

“We have used a specially designed Python script and developed an algorithm for generating code that simulates the movement of a coolant jet in Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS). Our team was able to present the results of modeling the cooling processes of construction farms using the example of a CHPP,” said Irina Pozharkova, assistant professor at the Department of Automation Systems, Automated Control and Design, School of Space and Information Technologies, SibFU.

According to the authors, simulation methods help to assess the efficiency of cooling of supporting structures with high accuracy. Modeling the dynamics of a fire is challenging since you have to consider account the movement of robotic trunk according to a given algorithm. Most of the existing software solutions do not allow with high accuracy to simulate the jet of the robotic trunk moving along the building structures protected from heating. Water supply to the protected metal structure with a flow rate distributed over its entire area will lead to a uniform decrease in temperature in the corresponding coverage area. However, this option is not suitable for large building structures. If cooling occurs due to a jet moving along their surface, this can lead to local overheating, and the structures risk collapsing at points far from the water supply point.

To solve this problem, Krasnoyarsk scientists presented a model of the water jet movement as a set of elements that simulate the sequential supply of water to various points of cooled building structures by switching on and off at times that correspond to the algorithm of the fire robot.

“If we know the geometrical parameters of building structures, we can use a specialized Python script to simulate the supply of water to the corresponding sections of the 3D model of a room on fire. By the way, the water here is presented in the form of individual particles, and their movement is modeled on the basis of the equations of computational fluid dynamics,” noted Roman Tsarev, co-author of the work, assistant professor of the scientific and educational software laboratory, School of Space and Information Technologies, SibFU.

The scientists tested the resulting simulation model by playing over the scenario of a hypothetical fire in the engine room of a CHPP. Assuming that there would be damage to the oil lubrication system of the turbine at the CHPP, accompanied by an oil spill and fire, the experts calculated that without cooling, the critical temperature (500оС) would be exceeded in the seventh minute of the fire. However, when using a fire monitor, structures would not be heated above 198оС, which indicates the effectiveness of a robotic fire extinguishing system for cooling building farms.

“We experimentally confirmed the adequacy of the mathematical models used based on the results of the tests provided by the manufacturer of fire robots. We have received the state registration certificate of a computer program using the algorithm described in the article. We will apply the method together with the Siberian Fire and Rescue Academy of the State Fire Service of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Russia to evaluate the effectiveness of fire extinguishing systems based on robotic systems at real facilities,” summed up Irina Pozharkova

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