NFPA Prize Awarded to Developer of Oxygen Consumption Calorimetry Device

The DiNenno Prize recognizes important innovations that have had a significant impact on public safety, including building, fire, and electrical safety, and it is named in honor of the late Philip J. DiNenno, former CEO of Hughes Associates.

The National Fire Protection Association awarded its Philip J. DiNenno Prize for 2016 to Dr. William Parker of the National Institute of Standards and Technology) for developing an oxygen consumption calorimetry device. The award and $50,000 in prize money were presented this week in Las Vegas at NFPA's Conference & Expo; the device is "a foundation of modern quantitative fire protection engineering," according to NFPA.

The DiNenno Prize recognizes important innovations that have had a significant impact on public safety, including building, fire, and electrical safety, and it is named in honor of the late Philip J. DiNenno, former CEO of Hughes Associates.

Oxygen consumption calorimetry determines the heat release rate of a fire by measuring the rate oxygen is consumed. It is used to evaluate the fire safety of materials and assemblies. According to NFPA's announcement, Parker in 1974 was working as a research associate at Underwriters Laboratory when he "observed that the burning rate of a Steiner tunnel sample was proportional to the oxygen depletion percentage in the exhaust. He determined the heat release rate by recognizing the constancy of heat release per unit of oxygen consumed and published his findings in 1977. Parker worked with Dr. Clayton Huggett, a now deceased colleague, who in 1979 first submitted the journal paper that provided the scientific basis for the constancy of heat release per unit of oxygen consumed as a basis for calorimetry. Their efforts provided a means for measuring the heat release rate of a fire, allowing fire research to move forward with confidence."

DiNenno died in 2013 and NFPA established the prize the following year, welcoming nominations from around the world. For more information, visit www.nfpa.org/dinenno.

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