Real-Scale Fire Experiments in an Underground Station

In January 2017, the third real-scale fire experiments in the framework of the ORPHEUS project were implemented. Again, the underground station Osloer Straße in Berlin was used for the fluid and heat flow experiments while it was closed overnight (01:00 to 03:30). This station consists of three underground levels with a platform length of about 100 metres. With a total heat release rate of about 150 kW, created by an array of propane torches, the initial phase of a fire was imitated. This initial phase is of special interest for determining safety measures. As the burners produce no smoke, artificial smoke was added to the hot air plumes to visualize the air movement and to reduce visibility. The mass and heat transport were captured with 660 temperature sensors, 20 carbon dioxide sensors, 10 sulfur hexafluoride sensors, 16 ultrasonic anemometers and 196 multi-criterion sensors for smoke, temperature and carbon monoxide. This data will be used to validate the simulation model and also to test small-scale models.

The artificial smoke allowed us to assess the visibility of information signs, which may be the only aid to orientation in a complex station. Optical measurements were made and also observations by individuals.

The Berlin fire brigade deployed about 50 firefighters and 15 fire engines to practise their new tactical approach under low visibility conditions in a complex underground station. Additionally, new technical equipment supporting orientation was evaluated under quasi-realistic conditions.

Further information about the partners and other activities is available on the project's website (in German).
(Contact: Dr. Lukas Arnold,

JSC News No. 248, March 2017

Fire Experiments at Underground Station Osloer Straße in Berlin
Fire Experiments at Underground Station Osloer Straße in Berlin
Ralf Eisenbach / im Auftrag des Forschungszentrum Jülich
Last Modified: 11.08.2022