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14 Building and Fire Research Laboratory: Division Reviews MATERIALS AND CONSTRUCTION RESEARCH DIVISION Technical Merit Inorganic Materials and Polymeric Materials The Inorganic Materials and Polymeric Materials Groups have a common goal: the development of test methods and predictive tools for next-generation construction materials such as high-performance concrete, coatings, and sealants. Each group works over size scales from the nanometer to the macro- scopic level and seeks out, develops, and uses state-of-the-art analytical and measurement tools. Both groups are well connected in industry and relatively well connected in academia. The Inorganic Materi- als Group is sophisticated in its use of modeling, databases, and other computer-based tools. The Polymeric Materials Group is highly proactive in developing laboratory automation and accelerated durability testing. Both groups provide technical support for improving standards and selection criteria for the evaluation, selection, and use of their respective materials and, additionally, support the needs of various federal agencies in addressing the construction and infrastructure needs of the nation. The strength of the materials groups is their work in establishing the fundamental bases of the durability of building materials. Staff members have expertise in the broad range of disciplines com- prised by materials science: chemistry, physics, engineering, environmental health and safety, and economics. The umbrella project of the Inorganic Materials Group is its HYPERCON Program relating to high-performance concrete, which recently completed the second year of a 3-year consortium aimed at developing and validating the Virtual Cement and Concrete Testing Laboratory (VCCTL). The NOTE: Chapter 7, Building and Fire Research Laboratory," which presents the laboratory-level review, includes a chart showing the laboratory's organizational structure (Figure 7.1) and a table indicating its sources of funding (Table 7.1~. 235
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236 AN ASSESSMENT OF THE NIST MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES: FY 2003 program continues to make strides in measuring, understanding, and predicting the performance of high- performance concrete. The Polymeric Materials Group, which focuses on projects concerned primarily with the durability of polymeric coatings and sealants in its Service Life Prediction Program, operates largely through consortia: Coatings Service Life Prediction, Building Joint Service Life, and Polymer Interphases. In addition, a study of the dispersion characteristics and photocatalytic behavior of particu- late microscopic and nano-sized metal-oxide materials used as pigments in building materials, launched in late 2001, may lead to a fourth consortium. The main program and focus of the Inorganic Materials Group continue to be the prediction and optimization of concrete performance. This program, HYPERCON, is aimed at measuring, understand- ing, and ultimately predicting the performance of Portland cement-based concretes. All major material aspects of concrete are represented in the consortium, including cement, aggregates, admixtures, and ready-mixed concrete. VCCTL's earlier success was based on a strong foundation in computational material science and theoretical work that established the computer models required to build the micro- structure and hydrate Portland cement. Its most recent technical accomplishments include the following: (1) a total reorganization and update of the computer programs and graphical front end used to perform the computational material science, (2) an update of the pore solution constituents and their effects on cement hydration, (3) an update of the database to accurately depict the real aggregate shape and size, (4) updated inputs for cement particle-size distribution, (5) an experimental program that has led to a more fundamental understanding of sulfate attack and resulted in the adaptation of VCCTL code for simulating sulfate attack, and (6) a revised computational module for the prediction of elastic moduli of cement paste at early ages, allowing for the input of additional concrete components such as fly ash, slag, silica fume, and limestone. Efforts to characterize and find easier ways to measure the plastic viscosity of fresh concrete also continue. Significant effort was made this past year in the area of relating plastic concrete viscosity measurements from different types of concrete rheometers, resulting in a new interpretation of data generated previously and published in 2001. This development is a step toward creating a scientifically sound and practical measurement technique of concrete workability. Work also continues in the area of characterizing the microstructure of cement and concrete through various techniques, including both scanning electron microscopy and optical microscopy, X-ray diffrac- tion analysis, and both wet and dry techniques to measure the particle-size distribution of cement. Analysis and characterization techniques for cement and concrete are important and required as basic input for modeling of the microstructure by VCCTL. They are also necessary as an empirical check to see how well that microstructure was modeled by VCCTL. X-ray diffraction, especially as interpreted by further work with the Rietveld analysis technique, provides a new and direct way to quantify the precise mineral phase composition of cements and clinkers. Results of this work may lead to an X-ray diffraction standard test method and ultimately to modifications in the current cement specifications. The Service Life Prediction (SLP) Program remains the dominant thrust of the Polymeric Materials Group. Most of the work continues to take place with the support of and under the guidance of consortia. Approximately half of the experimental work of the group revolves around use of the Simulated Photodegradation by High Energy Radiant Exposure (SPHERE) weathering device, which was devel- oped in BFRL over the past few years and is now fully operational, following the design, assembly, and attachment of reliable environmental chambers. The group seeks to show that the chemical and physical mechanisms of degradation occurring in actual outdoor exposure are very much the same as those that occur in the SPHERE. Establishing this similarity is a key aspect of an accelerated durability test. Research results thus far from the High Radiant Flux Experiment appear to confirm the idea that the law of reciprocity is obeyed for a model acrylic-melamine polymer over a wide range of radiant flux at
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BUILDING AND FIRE RESEARCH LABORATORY: DIVISION REVIEWS 237 ambient temperature and humidity. It is essential that future work explore the relations between outdoor performance and laboratory test results, as is planned. The characterization of epoxy coatings has been carried out with a wide range of tools, including gloss measurements to quantify changes in light reflection, confocal microscopy and atomic force microscopy (AFM) to determine surface morphology and roughness, nanoindentation to assess modulus or hardness, UV spectroscopy to assess yellowing, and various electromagnetic spectroscopies (FTIR, UV, and Attenuated Total Reflectance LATRj-FTIR) to assess details of chemical changes. The Sealant Service Life Prediction Program currently is active in three areas: (1) the design and construction of a device for transferring light from the 6-ft-diameter SPHERE to small spheres in which mechanically loaded samples can be exposed; (2) the development of an understanding of the nonlinear viscoelastic properties of sealants, which can be complex owing to the Mullins, or strain-softening, effect; and (3) the establishment of the test regimen for nine different sealant formulations. The panel commends the continuing effort in the Sealant SLP Program. The completion of the first phase of the Light Scattering Materials Characterization Facility within the Polymeric Materials Group greatly enhances the group's capability to characterize the bulk and surface morphology of coatings and thin films as well as the microstructure and dispersion of particles in complex fluids. While the first phase of the facility is directed at the study of solid samples, the second phase, expected to be installed in 2003, is aimed at the characterization of liquids and highly scattering solids. This facility is expected to be the focal point in integrating measurement efforts and results of studies from microscopy (AFM, confocal, SEM), neutron scattering, and nanoindentation and mechanical measurements. Because the facility applies a nondestructive technique, it will strengthen the capability of the group in carrying out long-term weathering exposure on materials. Past work in weathering and environmental exposure has focused on polymeric matrix degradation. The project on Photoreactivity of Titanium Dioxide will study pigment photoreactivity and establish the effect of pigment photoreactivity on polymer matrix degradation. The expertise of the Polymeric Mate- rials Group in UV light sources, UV dosage measurements, and photochemistry is essential. The success of this endeavor could have a broad impact in areas such as coatings, wastewater treatment, air purifica- tion, countering of chemical and biological terrorism, solar cells, cancer treatments, and UV protection. This work is ambitious and timely and, like much of the recent work in this group, well planned and considered. The objective of the project on Chemical Sensor Microscopy for Nanotechnology is to develop and implement techniques for characterizing chemical properties of materials at nanoscale resolution. Re- search results have demonstrated that chemically functionalized AFM tips can reveal the chemical heterogeneity of materials surfaces at nanoscale spatial resolution and that elevated relative humidity in the tip-sample environment enhances the chemical contrast between the hydrophilic and hydrophobic regions. Materials examined thus far have included thermoses coatings, copolymer coatings, and self- assembled monolayers. Future work will concentrate on the chemical functionalization and use of carbon nanotubes for AFM and the application of these tools to the quantification of hydrophilic- hydrophobic gradients in polymeric materials. Both of these efforts are highly worthwhile for the advancement of coatings as well as adhesives. The ongoing collaboration with researchers in the Mate- rials Science and Engineering Laboratory and the Physics Laboratory on this project is essential. A multiyear study of the field analysis of lead in paints is nearing the completion of its investigation of the method of ultrasonic extraction paired with anodic stripping voltammetry (UE/ASV). Following three phases of work done with the guidance of academic collaborators in statistics, the encouraging conclusion has been that UE/ASV is reliable for the field-based lead analysis of paint provided that paint specimens are ground to an adequately small particle size.
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238 AN ASSESSMENT OF THE NIST MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES: FY 2003 Structures and Construction Metrology Automation The individual research programs in the Structures and the Construction Metrology and Automation Groups continue to be of the highest technical quality and at the cutting edge in their respective fields. Additionally, the work of the Structures Group and the project on fire-testing of a floor truss represent examples of good research interaction between programs; such interaction would be beneficial on a wider scale across projects and groups. Most of the programs in the two groups have been built around the expertise of the research personnel; a broader research vision and agenda should also influence the programs, as is the case for the effort directly related to the collapse of the WTC's Twin Towers. The need for a detailed strategic plan for these groups remains. Presentations on projects in the area of structural performance under extreme loads could be im- proved by complementing the definition of problems and stated research objectives with clear descrip- tions of the nature of the work in progress for example, describing the outputs for the Progressive Collapse Investigation project, describing the results of testing and delineating how the urban environ- ment is recognized in the database-assisted design for tall buildings in the Wind Research project, and identifying the time line for each objective, as well as the project limits, for the Fire Safety Design project (in which the structures and fire testing researchers are working very well together). The panel had some concerns. The anticipated synergy following the merger of the former Building Materials and Construction Divisions into the new Materials and Construction Research Division is still an opportunity rather than an accomplished fact, and it remains to be seen how the synergy will be reflected in and affected by the operation of the new division. The division management needs to develop a clear overall strategy regarding the influx of funds and the technical efforts related to the WTC investigation; the strategy needs to inform the division's long- term vision. There needs to be a clear definition of the involvement of the materials side of the division in the WTC investigation specifically and in the homeland security effort generally. The WTC investi- gation plan has been fleshed out to address four specific objectives, comprising eight multiorganizational projects. However, organizational and work-related plans need to be defined by a detailed structure identifying work breakdown, milestones, and schedules, so that the project can be effectively managed and so that its status can be clearly communicated. Such a large effort merits a dedicated and skilled project management staff, as was pointed out in last year's assessment report. A large portion of WTC funds is scheduled to be outsourced rather than used to acquire expertise within NIST and to build a sustainable, long-range, structural risk assessment and mitigation program. The panel is concerned that maximum value will not be derived from the WTC investigation and its associated research and development projects in particular, the progressive collapse study. NIST's technical efforts may be more profitably directed toward the Dissemination and Technical Assistance Program, which should be multihazard-oriented from the outset. Additionally, a more strategic engage- ment in general structural risk assessment and mitigation under the NHRP umbrella might represent a valuable contribution by NIST to homeland security. Program Relevance and Effectiveness The HYPERCON Program of the Inorganic Materials Group continues to generate both interest in and effectiveness for the construction community, as represented by materials suppliers to that industry. The group recently developed VCCTL Version 3.0 for the VCCTL consortium members and placed the older Version 2.0 on the Internet. Over the past year, VCCTL has been accessed on the Internet by about 9,000 users per month, from more than 80 countries. It is clearly seen as a valuable resource in the
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BUILDING AND FIRE RESEARCH LABORATORY: DIVISION REVIEWS 239 computational and experimental materials science of concrete and its constituents. The Inorganic Mate- rials Group hosted the 14th ACBM (Center for Advanced Cement-Based Materials~lNIST Computer Modeling Workshop in June 2003, featuring much of its work in cement hydration, cement and concrete rheology, concrete microstructural characterization, concrete mechanical properties, and aggregate char- acterization and modeling. The VCCTL consortium members send a strong signal of their support by each providing $40,000 per year to the consortium effort. Over the past year, the number of participants has grown from one to nine. The work under way is strongly aligned with the overall priorities and research focus recently established by the Strategic Development Council of the American Concrete Institute (ACI), the pri- mary technical and educational society dedicated to improving the design, construction, maintenance, and repair of concrete structures. A document published in December 2002 by the Strategic Develop- ment Council of ACI, titled Roadmap 2030: The U.S. Concrete Industry Technology Roa^~ outlines consensus goals established by the concrete industry's leaders to improve concrete's performance, quality, and competitiveness. The main focus of the HYPERCON Progra~prediction and optimiza- tion of concrete performance aligns nicely with the eight major goals of this document. In fact, the HYPERCON Program has two constituent parts that specifically align with four of the Roadmap 2030 goals. These constituent parts are VCCTL and Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability (BEES). Components of these programs will aid in reaching the goals of process improvements, product performance, technology transfer, and industry image described in Roadmap 2030. The Inorganic Materials Group' s efforts to improve and refine VCCTL through consortium partici- pation appear to be succeeding very well. The consortium membership is composed largely of materials suppliers to the industry, specifically, admixture suppliers, ordinary Portland cement producers, and aggregate suppliers, as well as the National Ready-Mixed Concrete Association. As the VCCTL consor- tium completes the last of its 3 years, the panel is very interested in seeing the development of a plan to take the tools of VCCTL not only to the 4,000 ready-mix concrete producers of the United States and those of other nations, but also to construction companies and concrete contractors, building designers including engineers and architects, and prospective owners of concrete-intensive structures. While VCCTL has been designed to be used as one large modeling package, some individual components of VCCTL may prove to be of greater use than others to certain entities and should be packaged in such a way that their effective stand-alone use is possible. The plan that the panel recommends should addition- ally provide a clear means for the application of VCCTL and its components to code and standard development. The panel envisions that the Inorganic Materials Group could interact with the Construc- tion Metrology and Automation Group of the division, BFRL's Office of Applied Economics, and the BFRL Standards and Codes coordinator for the development of the plan that it recommends as well as for its implementation. Over the past year, a member of the Inorganic Materials Group received the 2002 ASTM Award of Merit for his service to and participation in ASTM committee activities. He was presented with the C09 Award of Appreciation at the June 2002 ASTM meeting, in partial recognition of his role in the development of a new standard for the use of the impact-echo method for measuring the thickness of concrete members. With its strong consortium support, the Polymeric Materials Group has both firm financial backing and a rich supply of industrial input on what is of most relevance to manufacturers of coatings, sealants, 1See the ACT Web site at www.concretesoc.org/.
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240 AN ASSESSMENT OF THE NIST MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES: FY 2003 and other polymeric building materials. A NIST workshop on photocatalytic effect will be held in FY 2003 and could lead to an additional consortium on the basis of industrial input already received. The SLP Program generated a NIST Competence proposal for FY 2003 in the areas of chemical nanoprobe microscopy, light scattering, and the photocatalytic effect of pigments. While the Polymeric Materials Group enjoys a fair amount of interaction with other NIST laboratories, it is believed that its Competence proposal could serve as a focal point for more BFRL-wide collaborative work and deserves continued attention and encouragement when it is resubmitted. Three members of the Polymeric Materials Group received the Department of Commerce Bronze Medal this past year for designing, building, testing, and calibrating the SPHERE UV radiation device around which so much of the group's work revolves and the effective use of which places the group at ~ _ ~ the leading edge of studies in material durability. Group members also received awards for papers presented on the effects of UV exposure, on the mechanical properties and chemistry of vinyl ester matrix resins, and on spectral photolytic effects on an acrylic urethane resin. A U.S. patent was issued to three staff members for a humidity chamber for a scanning stylus atomic force microscope with cantilever tracking. Another staff member is now an associate editor of the Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering, while another has been elected president of the Rheology Section of the Society of Plastics Engineers. The dissemination of research results is properly accomplished by the Structures and the Construc- tion Metrology and Automation Groups through relevant meetings, conferences, and workshops (many organized by NIST). The quality and relevance of the research are well documented by numerous awards and special recognition received by staff members in these groups for their scientific contribu- tions. Division Resources The WTC investigation represents approximately a 30 percent increase in funding for the Structures Group over the next 2 years. Since the staffing level is not projected to grow during this period, the effort will presumably be accomplished by reassignment of staff and a corresponding reduction in their other ongoing research activities. The panel hopes during the next visit to learn how the division will accom- modate the WTC funding spike in the out-years and how it will take advantage of any opportunities presented to expand NIST's expertise and relevance. Current plans indicate that a large portion of WTC funds will be outsourced. However, no analysis was presented to demonstrate that this option will support building a sustainable, long-range structural risk assessment and mitigation program. The Dissemination and Technical Assistance Program, which should emphasize a multihazard orientation, may hold more long-term promise for the division than will the R&D projects associated with the WTC investigation (in particular, the progressive collapse study). Appropriate opportunities to expand the industry base and the associated extramural funding for the Structures and the Construction Metrology and Automation Groups should be pursued when they arise. The resources seem to be commensurate with the research programs and activities of the division; a strategic plan extending 5 years into the future would clarify whether there are plans (not currently apparent) to extend its roles and mission. Research facilities for the Structures and the Construction Metrology and Automation Groups are of good quality and are adequate for the ongoing research programs. The focus on homeland security is limited to the WTC investigation and a planned research effort on the progressive collapse of buildings. The Materials and Construction Research Division has not indicated a clear focus on a longer-term or larger leading role in support of homeland security. As mentioned above, a more strategic engagement
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BUILDING AND FIRE RESEARCH LABORATORY: DIVISION REVIEWS 24 in general structural risk assessment and mitigation under the NHRP umbrella would be a valuable contribution by NIST to homeland security. Efforts in this direction were not communicated to the panel. No information is currently available on the equipment needs of the Inorganic Materials Groun. which has added computing capability in the past year. Enumerated equipment needs of the Polymeric Materials Group include a Nanoscope 4 tapping mode attachment for the group's AFM, a contact angle measurement system, and an ultralow-temperature chamber for electron spin resonance. The National Construction Safety Team Act of 2002 places significant statutory responsibilities on NIST. The panel hopes during next year's visit to learn how NIST is responding organizationally and whether relevant in-house capabilities are adequate. BUILDING ENVIRONMENT DIVISION The goal of the Building Environment Division is to optimize total (life-cycle) building perfor- mance through innovative design, integration, commissioning, operation, and maintenance for im- proved reliability, security, safety, and occupant health, while minimizing adverse environmental im- pacts. The division's research, development, and demonstration work is carried out in two program areas: (1) that of healthy and sustainable buildings, which involves the division's Indoor Air Quality and Ventilation, Thermal Machinery, and Heat Transfer and Alternative Energy Systems Groups; and (2) that of cybernetic building systems, which involves the division's Mechanical Systems and Controls and Computer-Integrated Building Processes Groups. Activities of each group are discussed in the subsec- tions below. Technical Merit Indoor Air Quality and Ventilation The research projects of the Indoor Air Quality and Ventilation Group represent an important component of the effort in healthy and sustainable buildings. The program has emerged from the long- standing research at NIST on building loads and the indoor environment. The current projects are a natural outgrowth of the need to understand the role that airflow in buildings has on energy use and on occupant health and comfort. The projects continue to evolve to meet changing national priorities. A strength of the group is that the projects provide well-integrated coverage of a broad spectrum of phenomena and applications. The group is recognized nationally for its expertise and is working with other government agencies on problems of national interest. This group has conducted significant basic research on air and contaminant flow in conventional and hybrid ventilation systems and has disseminated this information to the technical community. Members of the group have been leaders in the development of standards and design tools for ventilation and indoor air quality (IAQ). They are applying their skills to the evaluation of the effects that control strategies have on energy use and IAQ in both residential and commercial buildings. In support of homeland security, new efforts that build on their established expertise are being undertaken toward reducing the chemical, biological, and radiological vulnerability of buildings. A key area is that of airflow and pollutant-flow model development. The group has developed a number of analytical methods that are widely used in the research, development, and design communi- ties. The CONTAMW software is the basis for much of this activity. This program contains a model for the flows of air and contaminants through multizone buildings. Over time, the group has established the
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242 AN ASSESSMENT OF THE NIST MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES: FY 2003 validity of the approach through a comprehensive experimental program, and the current activities are to provide further enhancements to the basic model. These enhancements include extensions to cover moisture and IAQ levels in residential buildings with mechanical ventilation; natural and hybrid venti- lation systems in commercial buildings, such as those found in Europe; and a validated CONTAMW model for manufactured housing. Research is being conducted into infiltration and ventilation airflows in commercial buildings using combined thermal and airflow analysis. Work is being done on adding new filter and air cleaner models to CONTAMW. The analytical developments are complemented by experiments. A commercially available manu- factured house has been purchased and instrumented to determine contaminant and ventilation levels. Field measurements of volatile organic compound (VOC) rates in an Oberlin College building have been completed and will be used in model development. The new IAQ test facility will be used to experimentally study multiple mechanical ventilation options as well as natural ventilation and infiltra- tion. These experiments provide valuable data for code development and verification. The basic research of the Indoor Air Quality and Ventilation Group includes database developments that will allow access to IAQ modeling data for export to CONTAMW and that will link EPA VOC and National Research Council of Canada emissions databases. New databases are being developed for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on non-VOC source strengths, filter efficien- cies, and occupancy schedules. Finally, in response to the immune building program, the group is extending models on air cleaning, filtration, and chemical transport and reaction; building controls; and models for non-well-mixed zones and plumes. The goal is to develop analysis tools and guidance for assessing the vulnerability of buildings to chemical, biological, or radiological (CBR) attacks. Another major effort is in the development of ventilation and IAQ design tools. To this end, CONTAMW Version 2.0 has been released; it has simple controls, variable indoor temperatures, and nontrace contaminants, and is faster than its predecessor. A goal of the group is to provide tools that facilitate design on the basis of performance methods rather than of prescriptive rules. A design tool that can control contaminants to set points is being developed. Air-cleaning devices are being used increasingly in buildings, and there is an effort in air-cleaner performance modeling and database development. This work includes efficiency measurements in a single-zone test house; there are plans to extend the tests to multizone buildings. Cooperative work is ongoing with Puracil, a gaseous air-cleaner manufacturer. Models are being evaluated for their ability to predict the impact on IAQ of filtration and air cleaning. A suite of models will be developed to allow prediction of air-cleaner performance. Finally, an immune building toolkit that is based on CONTAMW is being developed to enable the analysis of various protective measures in event of CBR incidents. These design tool activities of the group encompass a broad range of applications. The tools are "7 "7 1 1 "7 1 1 under continual development and verification, which enhances their credibility. This is a strong effort in which the group is a national leader. The increased emphasis on a healthy indoor environment has led to new control strategies based on IAQ rather than on thermal measures. A major activity of the group is that of evaluating the impact of these strategies on energy use. Among the strategies studied for residential buildings are demand- controlled ventilation, the evaluation of mechanical ventilation, and the evaluation of different systems and components, such as forced-air return, whole-house fan, and heat recovery. The impact of vented and nonvented combustion appliances, the VOCs emitted from building materials, and mold is being determined. Strategies for commercial building ventilation, including demand-controlled ventilation, natural and hybrid ventilation, displacement ventilation, and advanced systems that are thermally decoupled from the space conditioning system, are under study. The research into the energy impacts in commercial buildings is using a combined thermal and airflow analysis.
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BUILDING AND FIRE RESEARCH LABORATORY: DIVISION REVIEWS Thermal Machinery 243 The Thermal Machinery Group has projects in three areas: (1) MEMS for improved vapor compres- sion systems, (2) two-phase heat transfer with refrigerantAubricant systems, and (3) simulation tools for evaluating and optimizing the performance of vapor compression systems. On the basis of market and technology trends and continuing worldwide governmental emphasis on climate change, the panel agrees with the group's vision of smarter, more reliable, and more efficient air conditioning equipment. The project on MEMS for improved vapor compression systems (refrigerant expansion valve and compressor vibration meter) would be the first applications of MEMS in the heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC/R) industry, following the lead of successful applications in the automotive industry. MEMS prototypes are essentially handmade, so patience and time are necessary to develop a workable MEMS. However, MEMS devices can be mass-produced (like computer chips) when their design has been finalized. Both MEMS applications support the industry need for more efficient and reliable vapor compression systems and are consistent with needs identified by the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Technology Institute's (ARTI's) Strategic Planning Initiative in 2001 (see the ARTI Web Site at www.arti-21cr.org/21crstra). The Thermal Machinery Group's project on two-phase heat transfer with refrigerant/lubricant sys- tems is focused on using fluorescence techniques to measure lubricant concentration at the boiling surface for R134aAubricant systems in pool and flow boiling. The fluorescence technique is superior to the current state of the art and will provide the first quantitative measure linking refrigerant boiling performance to lubricant physical properties. With this information, work can begin on a model to predict the effects of lubricant viscosity, miscibility, and mass fraction on the R134aAubricant system. The Department of Energy is a cosponsor of this project, as system energy efficiency can be optimized with such a computer model. The group has three tasks under the project on simulation tools for evaluating and optimizing the performance of vapor compression systems: (1) heat exchangers and heat pump simulation models, (2) genetic algorithms for optimized heat exchanger design, and (3) NIST Standard Reference Data (SRD) simulation programs. Accomplishments during 2002 include the completion of a project cosponsored by ARTI and DOE, which involved laboratory testing and modeling of refrigerant blends operating near and above the refrigerant critical point. As part of the project, a simulation package was completed for the design of evaporators and condensers. This model is now on BFRL' s Web site for free downloading. There were 115 model downloads during the first 2 weeks (February 7-21, 2003) of the model's availability. Two successful SRD simulation programs, CYCLE_D (vapor compression cycle perfor- mance) and REFLEAK (composition changes during leakage of refrigerant mixtures), were developed earlier by the group and were upgraded in 2002 with a new release of the refrigerant physical properties database REFPROP7. Information on refrigerant system line sizing was also added to CYCLE_D, on the basis of industry recommendations. Simulation tools were on the list of priority projects identified by the ARTI Strategic Planning Initiative in 2001 for the U.S. HVAC/R industry, and these programs are consistent with the ARTI priorities. DOE and SRD funding will continue for simulation tools research in 2003. Heat Transfer and Alternative Energy Systems The goal of the projects undertaken by the Heat Transfer and Alternative Energy Systems Group is to provide standards, rating methods, and basic measurements that support the needs of the building community. The group's specific areas of research are thermal properties, photovoltaic power, fuel
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244 AN ASSESSMENT OF THE NIST MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES: FY 2003 cells, and moisture in materials. The first two areas are well established; the latter two are in their initial stages. The thermal property work is a continuation of 90 years of NIST research into thermal property measurements, culminating in a database of thermal conductivity measurements. Part of this project's work is to maintain and continuously improve the database. Recently, the more than 2,000 NIST conductivity measurements taken in previous years have been added to the database. The construction of a thermal conductivity device that would allow measurements to be taken over a 90- to 900-K tempera- ture range is under way. New and innovative insulation systems could then be evaluated. The Thermal Conductivity Measurement project is very solid and is an international resource for thermal conductivity values. The group's first alternative energy project has the goal of developing measurement techniques, methods of test, rating methodologies, and simulation methods for photovoltaic systems. A test facility has been constructed for measuring the output of photovoltaic panels from different suppliers. The data reduction methodology allows the basic parameters that characterize the cells to be determined. The first set of tests was on four panels from different cell technologies. A second set of panels has been installed, and measurements are being made. Combined with simulation methods, these parameters allow the panel's annual performance to be estimated. Another important output of this research will be the evaluation of predictive models for performance. This is a solid program, providing important baseline data on photovoltaic systems. The group's second alternative energy project has the goal of developing measurement techniques, rating methodologies, and simulation methods for stationary fuel cells. A test facility is being con- structed to allow the testing and evaluation of fuel cells. A residential-sized fuel cell has been obtained and installed. Calibration tests are being planned. Using this facility, the group has the ability to develop test methodologies that can be used to characterize fuel cells so that estimates of annual performance can be made. The proposed testing methodology describes in detail the tests that will be performed and how the basic characteristics will be determined. It appears that this plan is solid and that it will yield results that will become increasingly important as the fuel cell industry develops. A project on the detection of moisture using ultrawideband radar is under way. The goal is to develop noninvasive techniques for determining the moisture content of materials within the building envelope. Such basic data could be used to validate existing models and provide insight into such problems as mold formation. The work to date is preliminary, and there was little reference to other literature that established the possibilities of the method. It will be important to carefully characterize the capabilities of wideband radar to accurately measure moisture levels and to concentrate on the calibration and sensitivity of the method. The investigators are working with a private firm, and it will be important to build a solid foundation with basic studies before applications to wall assemblies are attempted. The approach has the potential to aid the building industry, but it will need considerable development. Mechanical Systems and Controls The programs of the Mechanical Systems and Controls Group provide a window on a NIST organi- zation recognizing industry needs, establishing research projects, working with industry over the years for continuing program relevance, and achieving significant accomplishments. These programs involve buildings communication protocol standards, automated commissioning, fault detection and diagnostics methods, critical infrastructure protection for building computer systems, and a virtual cybernetic build- ing testbed for evaluating the effectiveness of the integrated systems. The starting point for these
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BUILDING AND FIRE RESEARCH LABORATORY: DIVISION REVIEWS 245 programs can be traced to the early 1980s, with control algorithms developed for building-energy conservation, dynamic simulation programs, and work with the American Society of Heating, Refriger- ating and Air-Conditioninp Engineers (ASHRAE) on a buildings communication protocol. The group has led the buildings industry in the development of the Building Automation and Control Network (BACnet~) protocol, which enables the use of and communication between different types of control systems in commercial buildings. The overall objective is practical use of integrated HVAC, lighting, security, energy management, life safety, vertical transport, and emergency response O O - - - ~ - , 0 1 _ _ _ _ _ Am. . ... . . . . . ~ ~ . _% . . . .. . . ... .. . . .. systems. 'l'he group Is providing technical support for BA(:net demonstration projects with the Architect of the Capitol, the State of Iowa (five sites in the Iowa Army National Guard), and the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). The GSA project is a multibuilding network in 11 federal buildings in the western United States. The BACnet standard is in various stages of international evaluation and use (in Europe, China, Japan, Korea, Russia), again with group personnel technical support and promotional activities. And, as a highly significant advance, BACnet was recently approved as an international standard (ISO/TC 205), about a year sooner than expected under normal ISO approval procedures. The fast-track anoroval was a result of a unanimous vote on the submitted standard. A second important, building-related project of this group involves automated commissioning and fault detection and diagnostics (FDD) of HVAC equipment. Buildings often fail to satisfy performance expectations even at start-up, and failures can go undetected for long periods of time. Building control system complexities may exceed the operators' and users' levels of understanding, leading to inappro- priate overrides of the control systems. Automated commissioning and FDD tools are needed to (1) ensure that newly constructed buildings work properly, (2) detect faults as they occur, (3) determine components that are failing or have failed, and (4) recommend maintenance or repair procedures. Examples of possible faults would be stuck or leaking dampers or valves, sensor faults, design faults such as undersized coils. and control logic errors. The croup is developing FDD tools and testing the ' ~7 ~7 1 1 ~7 ~7 tools using data from test sites of the Iowa synergy (:enter, (:ornell University, and (~5A. 'l'he t'un tools are being incorporated in control products by Alerton Controls, Automated Logic, and Delta Controls. NIST personnel are providing leadership of U.S. activities related to the new IEA Annex on building commissioning, with particular emphasis on automated commissioning tools. The project on Critical Infrastructure Protection has the objective of increasing the security of computer systems used for the integrated automation and control of commercial building systems (HVAC, fire detection, life safety, vertical transport, and lighting). The work of the project includes developing secure ways to interconnect multiple buildings, exchange information between building systems and utility providers, and provide information to fire-fighting and law enforcement personnel responding to emergency situations in buildings. The initial phase of this project is to conduct assess- ments of threats that could prevent or inhibit the operation of critical building systems, including estimates of the probability of occurrence and the potential harm. An important part of the project is the integration of biometric access control systems with the building automation system. Biometric technol- ogy could include face, fingerprint, iris, or voice recognition; retina scan; or keystroke dynamics. To get this project off to a fast start, security research contracts have been let to Pennsylvania State and Drexel Universities. This project represents a positive response of BRFL to homeland security program needs. The projects of the Mechanical Systems and Controls Group are all related, including the Virtual Cybernetic Building Testbed (VCBT), which is a real-time building emulator. The VCBT is a core component that ties together several major research areas in BFRL, including the expansion of BACnet capabilities, the development of FDD tools, the investigation of design and security issues, and the development of a sensor-driven fire model. The VCBT also serves as a vehicle for building cooperation
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246 AN ASSESSMENT OF THE NIST MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES: FY 2003 with control companies and for speeding the transfer of NIST-developed technology to the marketplace. The VCBT capabilities are being expanded for testing in the areas of emergency response and other adverse situations. Computer-Integrated Building Processes The Computer-Integrated Building Processes Group has taken on a new name (formerly Computer integrated Construction) to better reflect the broader context within which its numerous projects fit. This new name removes the implication of the group's being interested solely in the construction phase of buildings and emphasizes a focus on addressing process-related issues rather than only the final product of building processes. The name change is appropriate, given the variety of issues that the group's projects have addressed, not just in the past year but over the history of the group. The 2003 research projects under way within the group focus on the development of standard building information models for the architecture, engineering, construction, and facility management (AECIFM) industry and include work on product data standards for HVAC/R systems and information exchange with first-responders, product data standards for steel construction, and interoperability stan- dards for capital facilities. Members of the group continue to be active participants both in established organizations and in new groups working on standard building information models for the fragmented AECIFM industry. As mentioned in last year's report, the group has the appropriate objectivity, the requisite historical knowl- edge, and the organizational connections to help monitor and promote the variety of activities taking place in this area and to help avoid gross divergences within the evolving standards. The complex theme that is common across the projects of the Computer-Integrated Building Pro- cesses Group is the development, demonstration, and deployment of standard information models that are capable of supporting the decision-making needs of numerous participants in the building process across the life cycle of a facility. This has been a priority theme within the group for many years, and the group continues to successfully develop its variety of projects around this theme. The project on information exchange with first-responders is a positive example of how the new focus on homeland security is being integrated into existing programs. Rather than distracting resources from their long- term objectives, this project effectively broadens the customer base for the services and products that the group has already been working on. Program Relevance and Effectiveness The programs undertaken by the Indoor Air Quality and Ventilation Group have long supported the private building sector and more recently the security needs of the nation. There are a number of research projects on commercial building ventilation in cooperation with CEC (the California Energy Commission), ARTI, DOE, and EPA. A CONTAMW-like graphical interface for zone fire models is under development. Group members have been heavily involved with the professional and technical societies that deal with air quality and ventilation. They are represented on appropriate committees of ARTI, ASHRAE, and ASTM, among others. The group leader is the chair of the ASHRAE standard committee on ventilation and air quality (SSPC 62.1) and a member of the ASHRAE presidential study group addressing building safety in extraordinary incidents. Group members are supporting State De- partment field monitoring and modeling efforts. Their involvement with these agencies and professional societies ensures that the research efforts are focused on the important technical problems of the field. The group has recently undertaken activities in support of homeland security and is involved with
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BUILDING AND FIRE RESEARCH LABORATORY: DIVISION REVIEWS 247 working groups of the Department of Homeland Security. The work on developing an immune building toolkit addresses the problems of building safety in extraordinary incidents. The programs of the Thermal Machinery Group were established on the basis of their vision of future air-conditioning systems, determined from close interaction with industrial, governmental, and academic communities. Examples of this interaction are input from the ARTI Strategic Planning Initia- tive, DOE financial support, and a workshop held in June 2002 on the refrigerantAubricant project. The participants in these interactions were very supportive of the research, seeing BFRL as a laboratory with unique capabilities for this fundamental research. The continuing development and support of the SRD programs (CYCLE_D and REFLEAK) are an important service to the worldwide industry, as these programs are cited in many publications. The design model (EVAP-COND) for the heat exchanger represents a new industry tool to assist in system optimization and higher energy efficiency. The group's advances are well documented in industry conference presentations and publications. One paper was given the Award of Excellence for a Technical Paper presented at the 53rd Annual International Appli- ance Technical Conference in March 2002. The thermal conductivity measurement work of the Heat Transfer and Alternative Energy Systems Group is recognized internationally as a source of basic measurements. The database posted on the NIST Web site received more than over 800 hits this past year, which is a measure of its relevance. The group coordinated an interlaboratory round-robin evaluation of thermal conductivity measurements from five different international laboratories during the past year. This work is leading to internationally recognized values for thermal conductivity and to the techniques needed to obtain accurate values. The extension of measurements to a broader temperature range is a valuable enhancement that meets the needs of industry. Photovoltaic electric power has the potential to make a significant contribution to the U.S. energy situation, and the Photovoltaic program would play an important role in achieving this potential. The research undertaken by the group to establish the basic characteristics of this technology would help ensure that installed building systems would perform as desired. The group has published its work extensively and received an ASME Best Paper award for its work on building integrated photovoltaic panels. The Mechanical Systems and Controls Group has been recognized as an industry leader in its work on BACnet, fault detection and diagnostic tools, and the Virtual Cybernetic Building Testbed. The awarding of funding for the new research on biometric access control systems is an additional indication that the group is recognized as an important contributor to the technology of building communications systems. The group has worked closely with the building industry through workshops at NIST, through industry associations such as ASHRAE, through the BACnet users group, with demonstration projects in commercial buildings, and in many publications and presentations. The ASHRAE Journal featured a special 46-page supplement on BACnet in October 2002, with the NIST group leader being prominent as commentary author and coauthor of the lead article, "BACnet'~' Today." The panel recommends that the group continue with its current approach of extensive involvement with industry groups, companies, and governmental organizations, and that it continue taking advantage of opportunities to present its research findings. The overall objectives of the Computer-Integrated Building Processes Group are to work with the building industry to establish a sound technical basis for seamlessly sharing information and integrating processes throughout the life of a facility; to transfer the technology to industry through the develop- ment of consensus, open standards; to implement and test exemplar software applications incorporating these standards; to demonstrate the integration/interoperability of these and other applications in pilot projects; and to provide validated test-case data sets and test metrics that evaluate the effectiveness of
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248 AN ASSESSMENT OF THE NIST MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES: FY 2003 the technology. This is an appropriate set of objectives, all of which must be met, in order for the group's work to achieve the desired influence on the building industry. These objectives are all achievable to some degree across the projects that are currently under way within the group. The FY 2002 assessment report noted that it was important for the group to move beyond the goal of formal approval of building model standards to one of promoting the adoption of these standards within the marketplace. This change of focus is evident in the project on Data Standards for Steel Construction, in which the group is working with vendors of steel CAD software to help their CIMsteel Integration Standards (CIS/2) implementation efforts and with end-user companies to employ this technology in practice. A move to the implementation and testing of software applications is also evident in the group's work on making CONTAMW Industry Foundation Classes-compliant and in creating a building model of the NIST Administration Building for use in testing. The accomplishments of the Computer-Intearated Building Processes Group over the past year continue to demonstrate progress toward reaching its objectives. Successful completion of the STEP AP227 and Materials Property Data Markup Language (MatML) standards are examples of technology transfer through open standards. The creation of a test model of the NIST Administration Building is a step toward technology demonstration. The group's publication of three conference and journal papers also helps promote technology transfer. The panel is pleased to see the move toward formally recognizing the broader scope of supporting the exchange of building information across the complete life cycle of a facility. This move is reflected not only in the name change of the Computer-Integrated Building Processes Group but also in the stated objectives and approaches of 2003 project descriptions. Although primarily symbolic, the group's name change indicates recognition of this broader scope at division, laboratory, and institutional levels, as was recommended in the FY 2002 panel report. This change is tangible evidence of a response to the concern, raised during last year's review meetings, that the staff of the group might be reorganized in a manner that resulted in the loss of attention to the theme of improving building performance through life-cycle information management. The panel is also pleased to see the expanded outreach of group projects and staff to a broader spectrum of industry activities beyond those focused on facility construc- tion, to include design, commissioning, and operations phases of the facility life cycle. 1 ~ a, Division Resources The resources for the Indoor Air Quality and Ventilation Group are appropriate for conducting a broad and well-integrated research effort. This support allows an appropriate balance between the experimental investigations and computer studies. If the group's participation in the homeland security program grows and new research directions emerge, additional resources will be required. The program is a strong national resource, and curtailments in the current activities would compromise its effective- ness. The Thermal Machinery Group sustained STRS funding cuts during early 2002 owing to the need to redirect budget dollars to other activities. This funding was restored, and the group is working at a more favorable ratio of STRS-to-OA funding (60 percent STRS/40 percent OA). The panel commends the group for completing renovations of five environmental chambers, involving new chillers, new control systems, and removal of methylene chloride coolant. The large "truck" chamber renovation is currently on hold but should be completed in due time, as previous discussions had established the need to maintain the capability of this large environmental chamber. Another commendation for the group is its effective use of visiting scientists and graduate students in project implementation.
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BUILDING AND FIRE RESEARCH LABORATORY: DIVISION REVIEWS 249 The resources for the Heat Transfer and Alternative Energy Systems Group are adequate at present. The group's research programs all involve significant experimental work, and there appear to be suffi- cient resources in staff and equipment to allow them to carry out the necessary investigations. However, if the energy situation changes so that either photovoltaic power or fuel cells become a more important option, it may be necessary to add staff and other resources to the projects in these areas. The integrated photovoltaic testbed is the only one in the United States, and increased industrial activity could place increased demands for testing and evaluation of new photovoltaic components. The fuel cell industry will undoubtedly grow and mature, and the most promising systems will be identified. There will then be more demand for testing to establish characteristics and standards. The activity in the Thermal Conductivity Measurements project is expected to remain at current levels and not to require increased support. The Mechanical Systems and Controls Group is effectively using its staff for the wide range of research projects under way. The group had a retirement in December 2002 and is searching for a replacement. With the new funding in critical infrastructure protection, the group has chosen to let contracts to Pennsylvania State and Drexel Universities to assist with this new research. The Computer-Integrated Building Processes Group added a new computer scientist in August 2002 and is hoping to add another permanent member this year. There are currently no guest researchers to replace the two guests of last year, but discussions with several foreign students are continuing. The group has augmented permanent staff with contract- and grant-supported staff. While these arrange- ments have resulted in visible progress on group projects, an additional permanent member is still desirable. The issue is one of attracting qualified candidates. The facilities required by the group are primarily computer equipment, and they have been well maintained to meet the needs of the group. Funding for the Computer-Integrated Building Processes Group's projects is 100 percent NIST funding, with approximately 50 percent coming from outside BFRL. The funding from outside BFRL represents some diversification and healthy interconnectedness beyond the core group and the division. Additional diversification and interconnectedness from funding and collaboration outside NIST could further contribute to achieving group objectives. FIRE RESEARCH DIVISION The goals and vision of the Fire Research Division are much better defined than in previous years. The division is successfully pursuing its goal of fire loss reduction by enabling engineered fire safety for people, products, and facilities and by enhancing the effectiveness of firefighters. The division conducts research programs focused on reduced risk of flashover, directed at reducing residential fire deaths, injuries, and property losses; on advanced fire technologies services, working to reduce deaths and burn injuries of firefighters in the line of service; and on advanced measurement and prediction methods. Programs within the division are well planned and coordinated across its groups Fire Fighting Technology, Fire Metrology, Analysis and Prediction, Integrated Performance Assessment, and Materi- als and Products. The group and program managers involve the staff in the planning process. Synergies between complementary talents of the applied and basic research groups within the division were apparent to the panel and appear to validate the merger in 2000. The division now constitutes the preeminent fire research resource in the United States. The panel reviewed three areas of activity: predictive tools, measurement tools, and the application of such tools for the reduction of fire loss and protection of first responders.
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250 AN ASSESSMENT OF THE NIST MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES: FY 2003 Technical Merit A core of the Fire Research Division's modeling efforts is the development, application, and distribution of the Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS). The FDS software incorporates advanced turbulent models (large-eddy simulation), gas radiation, and scientific visualization in an efficient computational scheme that can run on desktop computers. The capabilities of the FDS model have been enhanced in the recently released Version 3.0, which incorporates absorption and scattering by droplet sprays, a multi- grid capability, a mixture fraction combustion model, and gas radiation. The FDS has been widely used for fire reconstruction, for providing educational tools for firefighters and the public, and for guiding the research program though the design of experiments. Illustrative uses of it are for the examination of the impact on fires of positive versus natural ventilation, for the assessment of the protection afforded by turnout gear under different thermal conditions, and for train- ing on fire-fighting tactics. The FDS and its visualization program, Smokeview, have been widely distributed. Validation efforts, including planned tests in the Large Fire Laboratory, are necessary to support confidence in the model's predictive capabilities. The FDS provides a tool for predicting the gross behavior of fires. Additional modeling efforts in the division are directed at phenomena occurring at smaller scales. These include models on fire spread, predictions of flashover, exposure of firefighters to radiation from fires, and heat transfer through fire- protective clothing and skin. Other modeling efforts include reactive molecular dynamics studies of the thermal decomposition of polymers and of the relationship between polymer structure and flammability. The division's modeling efforts are complemented by a comprehensive experimental program di- rected at assessing the effectiveness of fire detection systems, flame-resistant materials, and fire sup- pression methods. Specialized facilities have been developed to support these efforts. The Fire-Emula- tor/Detector Evaluator Facility continues to provide an unbiased scientific rating of smoke detectors for industry and the public. The division has been active in developing advanced, specialized measurement techniques for quantifying the propagation and control of fires. Impressive progress is being made in the development of rapid screening techniques for flame-retardant materials. The division's work includes the develop- ment of promising methods for example, high-throughput flame-spread measurement by use of the gradient compositions, high-output microcalorimeters to obtain the heat release rate, radiant heat flux gradient methods for the determination of ignition. online analytical techniques for characterizing ~) ~7 ~ ~ 1 ~7 nanocomposltes, and U V/Vlbi spectroscopic NMK techniques for rapidly assessing the dispersion in the polymers of the nanoparticles used as fillers. A new scanning transmission electron microscope will assist with evaluation of the dispersion of the nanoparticles. In support of its efforts on fire spread and suppression, the division is developing and applying methods for quantifying sprinkler sprays and droplet-and-surface interaction, monitoring heat release rates, measuring the yields of principal toxi- cants before and after flashover, and determining smoke transmittance and the optical properties of soot, fire-induced doorway flows, and the heat flux through firefighters' protective clothing. The Large Fire Laboratory will permit the conduct of experiments with fires of up to 10 MW of thermal output. An oxygen depletion calorimeter has been developed that can measure the time-resolved heat release rate from the fires conducted at these large scales. Experimental efforts support in-house research on the development of fire-resistant materials and validation of models for fire spread and firefighter exposure; they also provide reference methods for industry and other stakeholders. Progress is being made on the search for improved fire-resistant materials. The preliminary results with clay nanoparticles show a marked decrease in flammability at relatively low loadings, suggesting that nanocomposites with clays or carbon nanotubes might meet objectives of performance, cost, envi-
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BUILDING AND FIRE RESEARCH LABORATORY: DIVISION REVIEWS 25 ronmental impact, and reduced flammability. Lower-weight protective clothing using heat-dissipative polymers is being evaluated for reducing the fatigue of firefighters. The program for increasing the effectiveness of firefighting strategies is studying the effectiveness of sprinklers, the effect of their placement in different building configurations, the dispersion of the droplets, and the effectiveness on impact of the spray droplets. Fire-spread tools are being applied in areas such as structural collapse predictions, community-scale fire spread, structural ventilation, and improved firefighter safety. Opportunities exist for the Fire Research Division to radically change the current approach to firefighting by applying advances in sensor and communications technology. A commendable start has been made: the division is participating in efforts to design smart buildings that communicate critical building parameters in real time to first-responders and that monitor firefighter location and vital statistics. The division is applying measurement and prediction methods to identify the role of fire in the collapse of the World Trade Center's (WTC's) Twin Towers, potential improvements in the design of fire protection structures, and ways to reduce the vulnerability of firefighters and occupants. The panel is concerned that the staff is currently facing the stressful challenge of providing support to WTC activities in addition to satisfying its traditional customer base. The efforts of staff members are often divided among several (and in some cases too many) projects. These situations should be assessed, and efforts should be made, where possible, to alleviate pressures that can be anticipated in preparing the final report on the WTC investigation. In addition, the division should plan a clear and effective allocation of resources, in both the short and long term, between the WTC efforts and those in support of its traditional customer base. Program Relevance and Effectiveness The Fire Research Division is doing an excellent job of targeting its goals and objectives to meet the needs of its stakeholders. Results of division activities are widely distributed to stakeholders. For example, the Fire Fighting Technology Group distributes numerous publications, presentations, and ret ~ , ~ _~ ~ · ~ ~~ *~~ ~~ · <~~ · ~ , · , · ~ · ~ · , , · ~ ~ ATOM ~ · fire-related (:L,s and videos. 'l'he Fire L,ynamlcs Simulator IS utilized internationally. 'l'he division should consider additional relevant efforts in the areas of monitoring firefighters and in encouraging the residential use of sprinklers. Effectiveness of interaction between the cross-functional teams is improv- ing. The Materials and Products Group has produced numerous journal articles, conference papers, and reports. The group has worked with its industrial counterparts over the past 4 years to develop a flammability test method for mattresses that reflects real-world bed-fire behavior. The State of Califor- nia is adopting this test method, effective January 2004. A challenge for the group is to expand outreach to industry. The Fire Research Division should focus more on codes and standards. The division is currently participating in this area, but a plan should be developed for making more of an impact on the codes and standards process so that codes and standards more fully reflect the outcome of R&D efforts. Additional focus could be generated by the formation of a codes and standards subgroup or by the creation of a division that concentrates primarily on codes and standards. The National Construction Safety Team Act of 2002 presents another opportunity for the BFRL and the Fire Research Division. Findings from investigations may affect subsequent research and have application to codes and standards. The division needs to define how its resources will be deployed to investigations and how the results of investigations are going to be distributed and applied. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) poses additional challenges for BFRL. In order for the Fire Research
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252 AN ASSESSMENT OF THE NIST MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES: FY 2003 Division to gather data (for validation of models and for other forms of research) at planned fire situations, it must go through an expensive and time-consuming permit process (NEPA). This situation needs to be addressed so that BFRL is allowed to do fieldwork in an expedient manner. Division Resources As of January 2003, staffing for the Fire Research Division included 63 full-time permanent posi- tions. There were also 33 nonpermanent or supplemental personnel, such as guest workers, postdoctoral research associates, and resident students. Divisional resources are at higher levels than in recent years; this has had a positive effect on morale within the laboratory. The OA funding has increased owing to the WTC research effort. The increase in divisional resources has allowed additional permanent staff to be hired. The anticipated loss of signifi- cant numbers of senior staff as a result of retirements will create major gaps, and there is a need for a plan to fill the gaps. The renovated Large Fire Research Facility brought online last year is already overused. The WTC and other projects are fully utilizing the facility, so other ongoing work cannot be performed there. A specific proposal for a Structural Fire Testing Facility and a strategy for its development and implementation need to be developed this year. This technical thrust area represents a unique opportu- nity for BFRL to integrate its structural and fire expertise and to create a national research facility and research focus. The facility would provide a much-needed testing capability and would facilitate inter- action between several groups within BFRL. It would enable NIST to better support the design of materials and the development of codes that will reduce the risk of fire and diminish the fire damage. OFFICE OF APPLIED ECONOMICS Technical Merit The goal of the Office of Applied Economics (OAK) is to provide the methodology and tools to assess and improve the economic efficiency of systems and processes that ensure the safety and well- being of humans in the built environment. A specialized area in support of this goal is OAK's work in interdisciplinary teams with engineers and scientists from BFRL and elsewhere within NIST to measure the economic impact of new technologies. The focus of OAK's research and technical assistance is microeconomic analysis. OAK provides such analyses relating to manufacturing, industrial processes, the environment, energy conservation, construction, facility maintenance, law enforcement, and safety. It also develops and conducts prototype training programs in applied economics for scientists and engineers. OAK's activities identify relevant theoretical advances in applied economics and develop the means to apply them to the design and construction industry. While the researchers do not specifically develop new theoretical concepts, OAK is recognized as a world leader in the application of these theories to the built environment. OAK is particularly strong in the area of enhanced building performance, and it develops tools to aid decision making in the building and fire safety communities. A core approach is demonstrated in its work with the Department of Energy, whereby the OAK's software-based systems have been estab- lished for more than 10 years as the standard in such areas as life-cycle costing and energy efficiency. The analysis and economic simulation systems provide the immediate and long-term costs associated with the selection of different technical systems.
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BUILDING AND FIRE RESEARCH LABORATORY: DIVISION REVIEWS 253 OAK has built on this approach of immediate and long-term economic impact to establish the cost/ time tradeoffs for a large number of building and fire systems. The BEES system calculates the embod- ied energy costs associated with different materials and systems to calculate the relative economic impact. The Bridge Life Cycle Costing (BridgeLCC) system incorporates the durability and expected functional life of materials and systems into the economic cost calculations to aid public agencies in the design of public highways. The Fire Safety Gear Selection system builds on the research results in the Fire Research Division to include performance qualities with related costs to help local fire departments select the most cost-efficient and effective gear. The Decision Support system for HUD' s program for advanced technology for housing allows homeowners and builders to select cost-efficient housing systems with respect to durability, maintenance, and repair costs relative to initial costs. These programs are quickly becoming the standard reference for their fields. OAK collaboration with the other BFRL divisions (Materials and Construction Research, Building Environment, and Fire Research) further leverages the expertise and impact of the BFRL as a whole. The projects within OAK have clear deliverables and timetables, and they provide direct and recog- nized value to the building and fire safety community. OAK provides significant value through the economic assessment of other technical developments within BFRL. It also provides a strong point of interaction and integration with the user communities for many projects. For instance, the current project involved in developing a decision tool for the selection of appropriate fire gear is exploring direct contact with the professional associations; this can further link the testing and measurement activities in the Fire Research Laboratory with the firefighter community. Opportunities for further collaboration between OAK and the other divisions should be explored and supported. The team of researchers in the OAK provide recognized technical leadership in their field through participation in national and international codes and standards organizations. For instance, several OAK staff members are associated with the ASTM Subcommittee on Building Economics, which recently released a new set of standards for building economic analyses. They are also members of industry associations, such as the Construction Industry Institute, the International Design Center for the Envi- ronment, and the International Council for Building Innovation. Practiced through long-standing rela- tionships such as that with the Department of Energy, OAK's approach and calculations have become established as the standard in such areas as life-cycle costing and energy efficiency. New relation- ships for example, with the Construction Industry Institute for the development of a technology roadmap for the built infrastructure further enhance OAK's leadership. OAK is involved in NIST homeland security work. A current project is that of developing a tool for building owners and managers, to aid in the selection of cost-effective strategies for the management of terrorist and environmental risks. Program Relevance and Effectiveness The projects in OAK focus on meeting the requirements of the building and fire safety community, particularly through the assessment of the adequacy of economic resources to accomplish their objec- tives within a set of available choices. A high proportion of projects within OAK is funded from external sources in direct response to the needs of the community. Recently, OAK has increasingly partnered with other BFRL divisions to complement technological developments with economic assessments that can aid the effective adoption and dissemination of these developments throughout the community. OAK's recent contributions of Web-enabled decision-support tools allow an expanding population of users throughout the United States and internationally to understand and use economic methods to
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254 AN ASSESSMENT OF THE NIST MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS LABORATORIES: FY 2003 assess different technological alternatives. OAK currently provides Internet access to most of its soft- ware programs. OAK projects are developed and implemented with strong participation from the member commu- nities. For instance, the decision-support tool for assessing alternative building systems and components for housing (PATH-D) was developed using participants from both the homebuilder and homeowner populations. The Internet decision tool for firefighter protective clothing was developed with the U.S. Fire Administration (part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency) as well as the Fire Research Division; BFRL is exploring contacts with local fire departments through the International Association of Fire Chiefs and the International Association of Firefighters. The impacts of OAK can be measured through the ubiquity of use of its products and services in specific segments of the community. The Building Life Cycle Cost program is the standard reference for calculating the cost-effectiveness of conservation and renewable energy projects for federal, state, and local governments. The BEES software system is fast becoming the standard means through which specific approaches for improving facility sustainability (currently required in most federal agencies by Executive Orders) are selected and justified with respect to life-cycle costs. OAK disseminates its tools through publications, conferences and meetings, and electronic media. It currently provides Internet access to most of its software programs. Over the past 2 years, there have been almost 75,000 requests to the UNIFORMAT II Internet page and 50,000 requests to the BEES page. The BEES model was downloaded approximately 8,000 times; the Building Life Cycle Cost model, 3,400 times; and the Bridge Life Cycle Costing software, more than 300 times. OAK provides the core materials for and occasionally is directly involved in specific training programs, such as the Building Life Cycle Cost program. Staff members have also been involved in almost 20 conferences, workshops, and demonstrations over the past year, presenting topics such as the economic incentives for building safer communities and the economic costs of mold in housing. OAK had three major software releases during the past year: BEES 3.0, BLCC 5.1 (for Building Life Cycle Costs), and Autobid 2.0 (for police patrol car selection). Division Resources The estimated FY 2003 budget for OAK is $2.5 million, 34 percent of which is STRS funding and 61 percent of which is other agency funding. As of January 2003, the OAK staff included 11 full-time positions, of which 9 were technical professionals. Recent staff hires have added strength to the team as a whole. The staff appears to be sufficient for current project levels. OAK should explore expanding its use of guest researchers and students, particularly in the areas of sustainability and the cost-effectiveness of new technologies. The division could also expand its partnering and collaborative relationships with other organiza- tions and institutions that can provide the content for the tools that OAK is developing. For instance, the BEES program strongly leverages the contributions of the U.S. Green Building Council. As the tools and methodologies developed by OAK are applied to an increasing range of areas for example, the selection of fire protective gear and police vehicles as well as to building security and concrete perfor- mance it will become critically important to involve these user communities in gathering and updating the core content. OAK has been successful in attracting participation and funding from external agencies (such as the Department of Energy) and in developing new relationships (such as that with the Department of Agriculture). It could also, with additional internal NIST funding and support, further collaborate with the other BFRL divisions and with other NIST laboratories.
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255 BUILDING AND FIRE RESEARCH LABORATORY: DIVISION REVIEWS CODES AND STANDARDS ACTIVITIES The staffs of the Materials and Construction Research Division and the Fire Research Division, in concert with qualified and capable subcontractors, are studying the effects of the attacks on the World Trade Center. The investigation includes an analysis of building and fire codes and practices. That analysis should complement, feed, and be fed by an examination of codes and practices by the other teams engaged in the WTC investigation, each of which should be asking, as one of its concerns: "What impact, if any, will our work have on the codes and standards industries of the world, and how can we best disseminate the results of our work in a timely manner?" The audience for BFRL' s work in all of these areas includes the manufacturers of relevant products and regulators. The building codes currently adopted and enforced in the United States are updated yearly but are formally reprinted on a 3-year cycle. BFRL contributions to the codes should currently target the 2006 edition. Meeting this goal requires that the goal be adopted by a preponderance of BFRL, with the implication that the BFRL divisions consider the codes and standards activities a matter of concern relevant to their particular projects. That recognition is not currently shared across BFRL. BFRL's Codes and Standards cadre has taken a lead in the ASME A17 discussions of the codes and standards that would govern the potential use of elevators and other mechanical conveyance systems as a means of egress in emergency situations. The best ways to gain access to and to exit buildings and facilities during emergency situations are still poorly understood by the general public. Through its involvement in the investigation of recent fire tragedies (e.g., the Rhode Island nightclub fire), BFRL can also play a critical role in support of reanalyzing methods of exiting buildings and facilities in emergencies or situations involving perceived . . emergencies or panic.
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Representative terms from entire chapter: