Joel Liebesfeld, PI, MA, MAS, CES
James F. Valentine & Associates, Inc.

Presented at International Symposium of Fire Investigation, 2014

Making use of the scientific method means testing hypotheses until one final hypothesis survives that is durable enough to be sufficiently conclusive to meet the threshold of the standard of a reasonable degree of professional, scientific or engineering certainty. This paper is meant to elaborate on some common exemplar mathematical formulae and related information that, when applicable, can complement the expert reporting in subrogation losses. Proper insertion and reflection upon mathematically applicable formulae can add to the certainty of a report’s conclusion and the outcome in a subrogation proceeding.

The objective of the paper will be to turn the symbolism of mathematics into a language or a resource that can be used or extrapolated for testimony or reporting. The selected topics are those primarily seen or discussed in NFPA 921 and other fire and water related losses. In some instances the topical material presented will directly reflect on how the concepts are derived for applicable use in fire science/hydraulics. The topical material deploys mathematical notions derived from physics and chemistry that are the underlying sciences for most of the captioned losses.

Topics will include, but not be limited to, for example; detailed discussions about Heat Release Rates, Conduction, Heat Transfer, Air Flow and Ventilation, Water Flow, et al.

This paper is not intended to be a course in mathematics but rather intended to convey how specific mathematical values may be applicable, vary or can be affected by changing data related to certain nuances, such as ambient factors. These notions will be applied to selected mathematical principles that may be present in such situations as compartment or open fires, the treatment of fires, hydraulics, et al. Discussion may be extended to reflect on why certain constants are used and what they represent. Additionally, where appropriate, discussion will be reinforced by mathematical modeling. I have successfully used similar techniques when teaching adults in a university setting.

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