Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Electrical Engineering

Major Professor

Dr. Gregory Peterson

Committee Members

Dr. David Icove, Dr. A.J. Baker


Fire presents a clear and present danger to computer equipment and generally results in tremendous expense or irreplaceable loss. This study serves as a proof of concept for using computer-based fire modeling to investigate the resilience of typical data center equipment to fire. In this analysis, the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Fire Dynamics Simulator computer-based fire modeling tool is utilized to simulate fire scenarios within a rack-mount-style computer enclosure containing six circuit boards. Outcomes including effects of combustion (heat, mixture fraction, and species generation) and water-based sprinkler suppression are explored. Although the presence of standard water-based sprinkler suppression proves advantageous, it is not consistently effective in terminating this class of combustion. Results indicate that fire’s thermal effects constitute the largest impact and ultimately determine component survivability. The use of computer-based simulation proves to be a valuable tool in the ultimate enhancement of electronic equipment tenability.

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