FEMTC 2024 in Kansas City, MO and online | Sept 18-20.


Social Distance, Queues, and More Research

In September, Thunderhead Engineering welcomed a record attendance to FEMTC 2020 in its first virtual edition. We are excited to begin delivering the presentations from that conference to everyone. First, we have a discussion of several occupant movement topics researched by the Thunderhead Engineering R&D team and presented by President Brian Hardeman. There's more to come!

Social Distance Behavior

With the entire world focused on the global pandemic, we set out to help Pathfinder users provide useful analyses. However, to our knowledge, Pathfinder had never been used for pandemic research. By working closely with key users who were studying social distancing models, we were able to evolve our previous Comfort Distance movement into a more effective behavior pattern for a socially distanced world.


Queues have been strongly requested for many applications. This includes explicit door queues (as opposed to the implicit queues inherent in the Pathfinder Steering algorithm), ticketing at places such as museums, and chaining through multiple queues. Look for this feature to debut in Pathfinder very soon!

Cross flow

Finding the right validation models for cross flow has previously proven challenging. With a recent research effort from Thunderhead Engineering co-founder Daniel Swenson, we believe we have information that will help improve Pathfinder modeling of this difficult scenario. This topic is particularly demonstrative of our relationship with researchers and its importance.

Movement Speed in Smoke

As we continue to integrate Pathfinder with PyroSim data from FDS into our Results application, integrating behavior changes based on the presence continues to be a major goal. One objective among many from that goal is to implement changes in movement speed from the presence and varying levels of smoke. With PLOT3D Visibility data, we can test and validate our approach as Brian Hardeman demonstrates.


With additional Q&A from FEMTC attendees, that wraps up the first presentation from Thunderhead Engineering. If you'd like to view the second presentation, it is also available now. All other presentations will be made available very soon, so please subscribe through the button in the footer of this page if you'd like to be notified.