Research project

Robust evaluation of smoke extraction systems in halls and atria under uncertain boundary conditions

Brief description

Approximately 90 % of building fire victims do not suffer burns but are poisoned by toxic smoke gases. In the smoldering phase, smoke already significantly develops, reduces visibility, and thus impedes the self-rescue of persons in the building and the third-party rescue by the fire department. With the further spread of the fire, smoke makes it impossible to escape and turns into a mortal danger for the persons in the building. For the development of fire protection concepts, the focus is on stopping the fire spreading and extracting the smoke safely.

Previous calculation methods to design smoke extraction systems generally use the height of the smoke layer interface as a key evaluation parameter. The calculation methods are greatly simplified and lose their validity in more complex room geometries. It also does not consider whether there is any smoke layering in the room at all.

In this project, two calculation approaches (analytical with key indicators as well as stochastic with Monte Carlo simulations) for smoke propagation and layering in typical building geometries shall be developed in parallel. The aim is to derive from these findings a user-friendly calculation tool, especially for more complex geometries, to benefit users, primarily small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Natural and mechanical smoke extraction systems shall be evaluated holistically using the methods and calculation tool. Instead of considering the height of the smoke layer interface only, further relevant criteria shall be included, such as sight and temperature in the areas where persons are located as well as the flow direction via the smoke extraction opening, especially under uncertain boundary conditions. Another focus is on evaluating if there is a stable temperature and smoke layering in the room. Thus, high robustness of the calculation approaches and improved planning reliability for the users (SMEs) shall be achieved.

Project duration

03/2022 – 08/2025


Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) 


Grant number: 22842 N

Project partners

RWTH Aachen University, Chair of Energy Efficient Buildings and Indoor Climate, Aachen, Germany

Forschungsvereinigung für Luft- und Trocknungstechnik (FLT) e.V., Frankfurt am Main, Germany

This image shows Lukas Siebler, M.Sc.

Lukas Siebler, M.Sc.


Academic employee

This image shows  Dr.-Ing. Yuanchen Wang

Dr.-Ing. Yuanchen Wang


Academic employee

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