Advanced Fire Dynamics Simulator and Smokeview


This workshop is a hands-on workshop on advanced techniques in using the Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS) modeling and Smokeview visualization software. The course is intended for current users of FDS who are comfortable creating simple FDS input files from scratch without assistance. The course consists of many short modules covering specific topics. Each module includes a lecture section and a workshop section in which the student works example problems on a personal laptop computer.

Learning Objectives:

Upon completion the participant should understand

  • Complex geometry
  • HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) networks
  • Tracking gas species through the domain
  • Implementing pre and post-flashover fires
  • Pyrolysis modeling and flame spread
  • Advanced topics in combustion
  • Creating and removing obstructions
  • Smoke detectors and sprinklers
  • Grid transformations
  • Advanced Smokeview techniques: custom iso-surfaces, texture mapping, render files, and cad view.
  • Basics of the Graphical User Interface program, PyroSim


Each student should have an understanding of fire dynamics, heat transfer, and fluid dynamics theory to gather the greatest understanding possible from the course. Each student should be able to develop FDS input files, develop design fire scenarios, and review FDS results using Smokeview without assistance.


Attendees must bring a laptop computer with a minimum 1 GB of RAM and 10 GB of free hard disk space. The computer should have a spreadsheet program for analyzing data and Adobe Acrobat for reading the documentation. The attendees should also make sure that they have sufficient security privileges on their computers to allow the software to be installed during class.

Before coming to class, attendees should have downloaded the most recent version of FDS and Smokeview software from the NIST website and make sure the programs run on their computer. The NIST website is Follow the links for software, fire simulation software, and the NIST Fire Dynamics Simulator and Smokeview.

Course Assessment

Participants will take a written exam upon completion of the course. The exam will focus on the understanding of the concepts rather than specific calculations. Candidates will need to pass with a minimum score of 70%.