By Aaron Nicodemus
The Telegram & Gazette
STOW, Mass. — If you're an engineer developing a device to predict a flashover, you've got to know if the device is going to work in deadly conditions.
Last week, engineers and graduate students at Worcester Polytechnic Institute placed thousands of dollars worth of sensitive test equipment inside a concrete room at the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy burn building. They painstakingly assembled just the right amount of combustible material to create a hot, smoky fire. Once lit, the fire burned at temperatures topping out at 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit. Instead of watching the developing smoke and fire, the eyes of WPI engineers and graduate students were glued to data streaming into their laptops from the devices inside.
Device to predict flashover in development