Let me try to help.

Our Pathfinder Verification and Validation manual is available at: http://www.thunderheadeng.com/pathfinder/resources/

First, we regard the SFPE flow calculations (Human Behavior in Fire, June 2003, Society of Fire Protection Engineers) as validation data. The equations used in these calculations (see attached image) are based on experimental data. You can download a spreadsheet at the link given above. The Equations tab of the spreadsheet provides the equations. Further details are discussed in the SFPE Handbook of Fire Protection Engineering, 5th edition, chapter 59.

For a 1 m wide door, the SFPE flow rate is calculated as 0.92 pers/s. Using the number of people in the room, you can compare this calculation with the simulators you are testing. We provide SFPE calculation results for most of the validation problems described in the Verification and Validation manual (in particular, see "Chapter 3: Flow Rate Tests").

The experiments of Jun Zhang and Armin Seyfried described in "Chapter 2: Fundamental Diagram Tests" of the Pathfinder Verification and Validation manual can also be used to calculate the flow rates through a door. Their experimental data (see attached) shows a maximum specific flow of 1.5 pers/m-s at a density of about 1.8 pers/m^2 and was obtained by measuring the speed and density in a 3 m wide corridor. Flow in the corridor was controlled by adjusting the corridor entry and exit widths. If you take the same approach as used by SFPE, the door flow rate for a 1 m wide door with a 0.15 boundary layer would be 1.05 pers/s.

Both the Zhang and Seyfried paper and the Pathfinder manual present the results using the fundamental diagram. I went back and looked at our calculations. The highest specific flow through a door that we calculated was about 1.7 pers/s-m (assuming a zero boundary layer) for the case with a 3 m entrance and 2.2 m exit. The corridor specific flow for this case was 1.27 pers/m-s at a density of 2.22 pers/m^2, so this is a case in which the corridor specific flow is in the region of high density where the specific flow is dropping (a region of experimental uncertainty). Using our calculated specific flow with no boundary layer value, the maximum flow rate for a 1 m door based indirectly on Zhang and Seyfried results would be a flow rate of 1.7 pers/s. If we assume the same 0.15 m boundary layer as in the SFPE calculations, the adjusted specific flow for the 2.2 m exit becomes 1.97 pers/s-m and a 1 m wide door would have a flow rate of 1.37 pers/s. I have not seen any door flow rate data from Zhang and Seyfried, but you might want to ask if they could provide it.

In general, the Zhang and Seyfried data would be expected to give higher flow rates, since the persons represented a younger age group.

The bottom line is that the results obtained with Pathfinder in Steering mode will reflect the assumed maximum speed and speed density profile. If you use the values that correspond to the SFPE data, you approximately recover the corresponding SFPE exit times. If you use the faster Zhang and Seyfried input, then you recover faster exit times. If you select SFPE mode, then the door flow rates will match the SFPE equations.

I will post the Pathfinder input files to our web site.

Sincerely,

Daniel Swenson

Thunderhead Engineering