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Fire Dynamics Simulator

Delivery: Distance Education

NIST's Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS) is a computational fluid dynamics program designed specifically for Fire Protection practitioners. FDS, and its accompanying graphics program Smokeview, provide a field model with extremely powerful graphics that can be run on a PC.

FDS is not a Windows program. It shares the characteristics of all computational fluid dynamics programs in that its results require hours or days of computations. Modeling a fire requires creating the input files with a text editor, running the program Fire Dynamics Simulator using a command-line interface, and displaying the results using the program Smokeview.
Using the program effectively requires balancing the resolution of the computational domain, the length of the simulation, the output required, the computer's processor speed and RAM, and the time available.

This course is for Fire Protection practitioners with an understanding of fire dynamics and fire modeling. The course will comprise a number of discrete topics that isolate the features that must be considered when simulating fires with FDS. In addition, you will gradually model a more complicated scenario of your own choosing. As the course progresses and you understand new features of the program you will incorporate them into your own project.

Program Details

If you think back to your first programming courses, you'll recall the frustration when a misplaced comma was all it took to prevent your program from running. Consequently, timely consultation with the course leader through a 1-800 number and e-mail, and participation in online problem-solving with other participants will be key features that help you become a competent user.

Fire Dynamics Simulator program

Topic highlights include:

  • Using the software
  • Setting dimensions
  • Determining the grid
  • Multi-blocking
  • Connections to the outside world
  • Internal partitions
  • Describing the initial fire
  • Material Properties
  • Collecting information
  • Output
  • Detectors, Thermocouples
  • Smokeview
  • Suppression

Enrolment Options

You can take this course in one of two ways. You can enrol in the course FDS693 as a distance-education student. You will do the assignments, which will be graded, and you will receive a grade and a credit.

Alternatively, you can enrol as a non-credit participant, and submit the assignments and major project for comment if you wish. You will not receive a credit. If you just want to learn the program, and don't want a credit and want more flexibility then this second route may be more attractive. The fee is the same for both credit and non-credit participants.


You can begin the course at any time and work at your own pace.

The fee for the course is $900 CDN.


David McGill
Program Co-ordinator
416.491.5050 ext. 26186