Case Study

The Thompson Library is the main library at Ohio State University. It has two four-story atriums connected to each other by open corridors on the first and second floor of the building. The upper floors have open seating areas and conference rooms and the book stacks are on the lowest floors.

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The Problem

The calculated smoke exhaust quantities for the two atriums using the prescriptive NFPA 92 approach were very large and would have necessitated provision of mechanical make-up air systems. A performance-based analysis was needed to model the conditions and determine proper smoke control system.

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The Solution

In lieu of solely using the prescriptive layer height criteria in NFPA code, we used the tenability approach. This involved conducting egress analyses and evaluating the smoke properties, air flow and the effect of the fire suppression system on overall tenability using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling.

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The Results

Through our solution, we were able to maintain fire and life safety, reduce the total exhaust, eliminate the need for mechanical supply and reduce the cost and complexity of the smoke control system. We were able to do this while upholding the original architectural design of the library.