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Key Features of SMARTFIRE v4.3

Advantages of SMARTFIRE v4.3

Features in SMARTFIRE v4.3

Existing Features from previous version of  SMARTFIRE



The following table lists some of the key features of the SMARTFIRE v4.3 Environment.



SMARTFIRE Scenario Designer

Allows CAD/Bitmap import or 2D design of buildings
  Automatic Exodus "zone" (hazard export link) and geometry creation (NEW v4.2)
  Supports composite objects
  Allows multiple re-do and un-do
  Room and door search algorithms


VR Walk through mode with superimposed CAD floor plans

SMARTFIRE Case Specification Environment

Build/Configure Scenario in 3D Environment


Multiple fire sources with possible secondary triggering of fuel packets


Optional FED monitors with Monitor Cells (NEW v4.3)


Grouping of objects now supported (NEW v4.2)
  Delayed triggers and time varying inlets


Define Obstacles, Thin plates, Inlets, Outlets, Portals, Fans and Free Surfaces, etc.


Editor for hazard volumes allows for re-zoning without re-running CFD engine (NEW v4.2)


Toxicity Species, HCN and HCL (with absorption) models (NEW v4.2)


Sprinkler modelling with Nozzle object


Volume and face porosities

SMARTFIRE Interactive Meshing System

Creates a mesh and CFD Engine command script


Extended region handling
  Geometry specific meshing with meshing rule fine-tuning


Iterative mesh improvement (Refine)


Option for manual mesh editing


Optimisation for solids/un-used rooms removal at meshing stage (NEW v4.2)


Scenario simulation tool runs in 32 or 64 bit Windows (NEW v4.2)


Algebraic Multi-Grid solver for Serial CFD Engine (NEW v4.3)


Multi Particle Size sub model for Smoke Transport (NEW v4.3)


Parallel option using multiple PCs and/or multiple CPU cores


3D (unstructured mesh capable - with suitable meshing system)


Transient or steady-state


Turbulent (K-ε with buoyancy modifications)
  Optional high resolution difference schemes


Radiosity, 6-flux and multi-ray radiation models


Gaseous combustion, Toxicity, HCN, HCL and Sprinkler models


Interactive Visuals, Data Plots and Monitor Graphs
  Visibility through smoke distance visualisation


Interactive control of solution process


Export data (including toxicity) to EXODUS evacuation software


Post-processing visualisation and exploration of CFD data


Point probe and graphing through data with option to export
  Supports semi-transparent geometry and visuals


Multiple cut planes for vectors and contours (NEW v4.2)


Animation of time series results or a series of camera viewpoints
  Surface visualisation of temperature and burning surfaces (NEW v4.2)


Vector, Scalar (cut plane, iso-surface), Streamline and Smoke visualisations



SMARTFIRE v4.3 has been developed in C++ using modular Object Oriented modular software design.  SMARTFIRE v4.3 offers the fire engineer the following advantages:

  • Available for standard PC platforms (and workstation clusters) using either 32- or 64- bit Microsoft Windows [XP/XP Pro, Vista, 7, 8].

  • SMARTFIRE discards the outdated concept of batch mode processing, allowing users to access the fully interactive CFD Engine, ensuring that the entire modelling process is more efficient and the results are more comprehensible.

  • SMARTFIRE uses tried and tested CFD technology, along-side advanced and well validated research capabilities, to provide accurate simulations in a wide variety of fire scenarios.
  • An integrated modular simulation environment that provides the design engineer with the tool set required to specify both the Geometry and the Fire Scenario, to mesh the Geometry, to perform the CFD simulations and then to interrogate and visualise the Simulation results.

  • Parallel version can also exploit multiple workstations AND multi-core architectures, so enhanced performance is possible even on a single (multi-core) workstation.
  • The Case Specification tool uses terms that are familiar to the Fire Safety industry and has a low learning overhead.

  • The Interactive Meshing system provides intuitive interactive visual meshing backed by automatic knowledge based meshing.

  • The fully featured CFD engine can solve for steady-state/transient turbulent, buoyant flows with forced or natural ventilation including heat transfer with combustion, thermal radiation (using multi-ray, six-flux, or radiosity sub-models), toxicity and HCN (using an Local Equivalence Ratio model), HCL (with optional wall surface absorption) and/or Sprinklers on structured or fully un-structured* 3D meshes.

  • Provides a built-in data "slice" visualisation capability that can also be used both for post processing visualisation and for continuous solution monitoring.

  • Extensive data gathering facilities using line plot graphs, graphs of residuals and monitor values and image captures.

  • Comprehensive save and restart facilities allow speculative control and stability research whilst the case database provides data compression and neat file management.

  • The SMARTFIRE environment is continually evolving, with many new and requested capabilities due to be released, from our wide ranging research.

* when used with suitable third party tools for geometry specifcation and unstructured meshing.

FEATURES IN SMARTFIRE v4.3 and v4.2  Back

SMARTFIRE v4.3 has the following features:

  • An algebraic Multi-Grid solver (for Pressure solving) has been added to the serial version of the CFD Engine. This new class of solver offers greater stability and performance when running highly refined or challenging mesh cases, e.g. tunnels. (NEW v4.3)

  • New Smoke sub-model for Multi Particle Size soot dispersion. This optional model provides additional fidelity to the smoke model as it allows gravitational settling of the largest soot particles, leading to a more realistic dispersion of the soot in large scale geometries. (NEW v4.3)

  • Monitor Points (Cells) can now have optional Fractional Effective Dose (FED) toxicity computations added so that location specific toxicity (for a building occupant defined by key parameters) is computed and exported at the end of each time step. This gives a simple method for analysing the hazard caused by the fire effluents without having to run a post-processing tool. (NEW v4.3)
  • New support for 64 bit memory addressing in the Case Specification Environment, Serial- & Parallel- CFD Engines and the Data Viewer. Formerly SMARTFIRE was limited to using only up to 2 GB of available memory on 32 bit Windows Platforms. Now with 64 bit Windows, SMARTFIRE can run significantly larger cell budgets - although the Parallel version of the CFD Engine should be used to make large cases run in a reasonable time.

  • Scenario Designer tool provides a semi-automated graphical environment for the import of CAD (DXF or floor plan mono-bitmap) drawings for the creation of SMARTFIRE modelling scenarios from building floor plans. This tool does not have to be used if there are no building plans available although the intuitive CAD-like interface can greatly enhance the speed of development of scenario geometries for large scale or complex buildings. The output from this tool will be a 3D geometry model that can be loaded into the SMARTFIRE Case Specification Environment. The tool understands layers used in DXF design drawings and can "scan" for rooms and doors within suitable floor plans. There are intuitive mechanisms for selecting portions of a complex building plan and selectively incorporating rooms, doors, windows, fires and vents into the scenario to be modelled.

  • The parallel version of SMARTFIRE (using MPI) uses networked PC workstations (and/or multiple CPU cores) with domain decomposition to speed up the solution process. The parallel CFD engine runs with a slightly more limited Graphical User Interface than the serial version.

  • Interactive (run-time) visualizer allows intermediate and final results display during the CFD computations. This tool allows a 2D visualisation plane to be viewed within the context of the geometry and the whole domain can be rotated, zoomed or shifted under mouse control. Also supports visibility distance computation through smoke filled environments.

  • SMARTFIRE “DataView” provides results post-processing with geometry display and numerous visualisation options including scalar iso-surfaces/cut-planes, velocity vector displays, streamlines, smoke visualisation, surface data and animated results for multiple time step saves.

  • A zone (hazard sub-region) based data link allows SMARTFIRE to export hazard simulation results to the EXODUS evacuation-modelling tool. This fully supports toxicity and HCl sub-models and has semi-automated set-up of zones when using the SMARTFIRE Scenario Designer. The Scenario Designer can also create a compatible buildingEXODUS geometry that has all the hazard sub-volumes pre-defined.

  • Many of the objects available in the Case Specification Environment have temporal or solution controlled activation/de-activation. This means that, for example, a thin plate object (representing a closed door or window) can be removed from (or added to) a simulation at a particular time OR if a particular solution condition is detected. This is a very powerful feature that enables such research as secondary ignition of fire sources, opening and closing of vents, baffles, doors and windows, and the activation or deactivation of fans or inlets. TRIGGER CELL and TRIGGER VOLUME objects provide the solution controlled activation/de-activation. The object triggering can also be delayed.

  • Monitor points have enhanced handling so that multiple monitor points can be defined (the last monitor point defined will - as usual - be used for the CFD data monitoring point). All of the monitor points can have selective data output to a variable specific monitoring file. The files will each have monitor-point columns of values that are the variable values for the particular monitor point at successive time steps. The files will be continually appended with all the monitor point data at the end of each time step.

  • Gaseous combustion model supports partial oxygen sensitivity. Formerly the Gaseous combustion model did not use the oxygen concentration to limit the rate of combustion. The model is not yet capable of handling fire extinction but this feature and other enhancements are currently being researched.

  • The multiple ray radiation model has been optimised so that it performs faster when there are only very minor changes in temperature. The multi ray radiation model (particularly when using many rays) is very computationally expensive and this optimisation makes the use of the model much more practical.

  • The automated meshing system has been enhanced with more powerful quality assessment and adjustment routines. The user can choose to check the quality and the system will selectively choose to add cells only where they are actually needed (and be beneficial) rather than the former approach of a brute force increase of the directional cell budget to try and fix the problematic cells/blocks.

  • Multiple planar-visualisation windows are supported by the SMARTFIRE CFD Engine, including image saves.

  • A number of optimisation strategies have been incorporated within the SMARTFIRE CFD Engine. (i) The data storage mechanisms have been reworked to give more optimal performance due to the faster cache arrangement of modern PC workstations.  (ii) The CFD Engine supports the removal of certain classes of solid so that certain solid cells are physically removed from the problem and no processing is performed. This is particularly useful for complex scenarios where there are void spaces and blockages that do not participate in any of the solution development. The removal is near 100% effective at saving the compute time for all of the cells that are removed. (iii) Re-indexing of the problem (Research Version Only) using cell activation groups allows processing to be targeted on the cells where the solution is changing the most. This is an experimental technique that is currently being researched and is most likely to be of benefit to large-scale simulation scenarios where parts of the domain experience little or no significant flows or heating. It should be noted that both solid removal and re-indexing have a side effect of losing the regular nature of structured cartesian meshes. The SMARTFIRE CFD Engine can process the unstructured case BUT the visualisation is affected since the data is no longer structured. This means that the visualisation of data cut planes will use the unstructured triangulation routines rather than the regular structured mesh visualisation routines.

  • Data output formats support various third part post processing packages. MayaVi (freeware) supported for "snapshot" saves AND incremental saves. TecPlot (commercial) supported for "snapshot" saves. Ensight-6 and -Gold (commercial) supported for "snapshot" saves.

  • Porosity objects (for faces and volumes) enable more realistic handling of partial blockages. Some objects, such as meshes/grills and/or objects with sub-structures much smaller than the modelled mesh resolution, might not be adequately modelled using existing thin plate or obstacle objects. Porosity objects allow partially blocked faces and volumes to be specified. In some cases this can enhance the modelling accuracy BUT users are warned that the porosity objects do not have specific turbulence generation handling since any particular porosity patch can represent a multitude of very different geometries (each of which will have a unique effect on the turbulent behaviour).

  • Minimum PC specification is a P4 3.0GHz with 1024MB RAM and 1024x768 XGA.

  • Recommended minimum PC specification is an Intel Core i3 Dual 2.0 GHz (or similar) with 4GB RAM and 1024x768 XGA.


SMARTFIRE v4.3 also maintains the following features inherited from earlier versions of SMARTFIRE:

  • Horizontal vents are available via the user interface with suitably sized extended regions that are automatically created in the vertical direction.

  • The automated meshing tool was significantly improved and generates improved quality meshes with smaller mesh budgets than in earlier versions of SMARTFIRE.  The automatic meshing tool has object awareness for improved meshing of complex geometries. This enables the use of meshing rules that specify the minimum number of cells that MUST be used within an object. E.g. a vent must have at least 3 cells in both the “height” and “width” directions in order to provide for both inflow and outflow simultaneously.

  • A manual mesh specification tool was included that allows the user to modify the mesh through the addition of cells and the specification of cell distributions. This tool allows experts to fine tune meshes generated by the automated mesh generator.

  • Gaseous combustion models and associated control parameters have been incorporated within SMARTFIRE and can be fully activated via the user interface.

  • A smoke model was made available for use with the gaseous combustion model and the standard heat release rate model. In the standard heat release rate model the smoke is specified as a mass release rate. When the gaseous combustion model is used, smoke is concentration is determined by assessing the mass of smoke produced by burning 1 unit of fuel.

  • Additional ‘objects’ have been specified in the object library thus allowing the user to create simulation cases with greater complexity.

  • 2D objects such as Thin Plates and Inlets can be specified anywhere in the flow domain (previously, 2D objects were limited to the surfaces of the geometry region).

  • Smart data entry menus and case specification checking now provide easier and more reliable fire modelling.

  • A multi-ray radiation model has been included. This model is analogous to the discrete transfer radiation model but is fully compatible with unstructured meshes. It has the benefit of using the same computational mesh as the other models.

  • The ability to specify forced ventilation systems such as fans.

  • The planar visualisation system in the CFD Engine has been enhanced to allow multiple visualisation planes to be viewed simultaneously.

  • New objects have been added to allow data plots to be specified from the SMARTFIRE Case Specification Environment.

  • The visualisation system has been enhanced to allow captures to be performed when screen-savers are in use, when other applications are hiding the visuals or when the computer system is locked. Saves under these conditions were formerly not possible.



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