Basler & Hofmann presents the unique full scale fire test device "Izar"


With Izar, Basler & Hofmann presents a unique full scale fire test device that can be used to check fire protection concepts in finished buildings. The unit simulates a real fire with realistic temperature distribution and smoke layering – but without any risk to people or buildings. A new fire protection guideline due to come into effect in 2015 means real fire tests will be used increasingly in future to test object-specific fire protection concepts.

Izar: high-energy flame

New regulation: authorities may demand real fire tests

Today, object-specific fire protection concepts are usually based on mathematical proof. Numerical simulations are used to evaluate whether planned measures will allow sufficient time for evacuation in case of an incident. But simulations can never completely reflect reality, especially in very complex building structures. They work with assumptions and simplified spatial geometries. The new fire protection guideline from the Association of Cantonal Fire Insurance Companies (VKF), which is scheduled to come into effect in 2015, will introduce testing procedures into Swiss fire safety law. Authorities will be able to demand that heat and smoke exhaust is tested with a real fire test in the finished building. 

Unique full scale fire test device: Izar

A real fire in a finished building? How is that possible without major side-effects? With the Izar full scale fire test unit, Basler & Hofmann has created the world’s first system that fulfils all requirements for full scale fire testing in a finished building: 

1) Fully adjustable thermal output from 100 KW to 1.9 MW for each connected burner module. Performance can therefore be adapted to on-site requirements and conditions.

2) Clean burning: Thanks to a special process, the liquid gas is burned off with no toxic emissions. Izar is the first system to meet Switzerland’s high environmental standards.

3) Low flame height ensures safe conditions for people and the building during the test. 

4) Fully controllable fire behaviour: The system is controlled via software, thus predefined 'fire' curves can be reproduced.

5) The system is mobile and can be installed in one to two hours. Izar makes it easy to test heat and smoke exhausting concepts and systems. The system will also contribute to better calibration and improvement of numerical simulations. Patent pending. 

Izar – a double star

Izar is the original name of the double star Epsilon Boötis in the constellation of Boötis. The double star consists of a large star with an orange glow and a smaller, blue-hued star. Izar is approximately 210 light years from the sun. The Arabic word ‘Izar’ also means outer garment. So the name Izar fits the full scale fire testing facility in more than one sense: like the star, it has high thermal output and burns with a blue flame, and the smoke it generates hangs like a cloak over the room. Trademark registration pending. 

Sixth International Symposium on Tunnel Safety and Security, Marseille, France, March 12-14, 2014 (PDF)