Fire Protection Engineering Department PhD Defense

Wednesday, April 12, 2023
11:00 am

Hsin-Hsiu (Matt) Ho

Zoom Link:


Heat Release Rate of Fires Using Poing-Based Sampling



Ali S. Rangwala (Advisor, WPI)

Albert Simeoni (FPE Department Head, WPI)

Robert G. Zalosh (Firexplo; FPE Professor Emeritus; WPI)

Forman A. Williams (MAE Professor Emeritus; UCSD)

Chi-Min Shu (Distinguished Chair Professor; YunTech)


Heat release rate (HRR) is viewed as one of the most critical parameters in fire hazard evaluation. Conventional hood-based calorimeters rely on total capture of the combustion products to measure HRR. Because of this requirement, the fire size is often limited to a certain length scale. A new gas sampling apparatus was developed to serve as an alternative to expensive industrial gas sampling equipment to measure the HRR of large-scale fires in outdoor scenarios. This system was capable of measuring CO2, CO, O2, temperature, and vertical velocity within the smoke plume. The low cost and lightweight nature of the design introduced the potential of deploying multiple systems simultaneously and a new technique utilizing point-based capture for fire calorimetry.


This study utilized Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS) at three different length scales to develop a methodology for point-based sampling to perform fire calorimetry. Results yielded the minimum number of sampling locations required for two scenarios, one where the fire centerline is known and another where it is unknown. The developed methodology was then validated with pool fire experiments at two different length scales: 0.75 m diameter and 3.6 m by 1.8 m. The latter set of experiments were large-scale oil-on-water burns performed outdoors. Results showed good agreement with HRR obtained from fuel regression rates, demonstrating the viability of the point-based capture technique. Through the use of the new gas sampling apparatus, this study has exhibited the first instance of removing the total capture requirement that has been present in fire calorimetry for over 50 years and full implementation of the point-based capture concept for HRR measurement.



Hsin-Hsiu Ho joined the Department of Fire Protection Engineering Ph.D. program in September 2019. As one of the research members in the WPI Combustion lab (, his work focuses on emissions sampling in outdoor scenarios, emphasizing the development of a new technique for calorimetry of large-scale fires. He holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan and an MS in Chemical Engineering from Northeastern University in Boston, USA.