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RAP opportunity at National Institute of Standards and Technology     NIST

Material Flammability, Ignitability, and Fire Growth


Engineering Laboratory, Fire Research Division

opportunity location
50.73.31.C0765 Gaithersburg, MD

NIST only participates in the February and August reviews.


name email phone
Isaac T Leventon 301.975.6887


The fire modeling community is actively working to develop the tools needed to quantitatively predict material and product flammability behavior (e.g., ignition, burning rate, fire growth). Such predictions require accurate and efficient simulation of the tightly coupled, time-dependent condensed- and gas-phase processes that control the rate of fire growth. State-of-the-art fire models designed for these simulations also require input parameters (material properties) that describe: the decomposition reaction mechanism of combustible solids (and associated kinetics and thermodynamics) and relevant heat/mass transport properties.

To address this need, the NIST Fire Research Division has been developing experimental and analytical tools to calibrate these material properties and to validate their ability to predict flammability response across a range of configurations/scales (i.e., mg-scale thermal decomposition, g-scale gasification/burning, and flame spread over panels 0.5 m to 2.44 m tall). To date, these tools have been used to characterize synthetic polymers and copolymers, fiber-reinforced composite materials, porous polymer foams, and natural- and engineered-wood-products. These calibration measurements, analysis tools, resulting material property sets, and comparisons of experimental measurements and numerical simulations of full-scale fire growth behavior (model validation) are maintained on the NIST Flammability Database.

The primary focus of this project is to further develop and apply the tools and techniques needed to quantify the material properties and physical mechanisms controlling fire growth behavior (e.g., pyrolysis, soot formation, species yields, flame heat feedback, smoldering/char oxidation, sample deformation) and to advance our ability to accurately predict increasingly complex burning scenarios (e.g., varied sample/product configuration and scale). Further details of the project are available online:

key words
Char Oxidation; Fire Dynamics; Fire Modeling; Fire Testing; Heat Transfer; Ignition; Material Flammability; Material Property Determination; Pyrolysis


Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral applicants


Base Stipend Travel Allotment Supplementation
$82,764.00 $3,000.00
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