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Experimental Study of Upward Flame

Spread of an Inclined Fuel Surface


Michael J. Gollner
University of Maryland, College Park

Xinyan Huang, Jeanette Cobian and Forman A. Williams


University of California, San Diego

Ali S. Rangwala
Worcester Polytechnic Institute

August 3, 2012

34th International Symposium on Combustion Warsaw, Poland

Motivation
Maxima of both the flame-spread rate and mass-loss rate are
used to determine the fire hazards of materials
These quantities are both dependent on orientation
Flame spread is still not well understood for:
Forest fires (e.g. inclined slopes)
Warehouse fires
Undersides of burning roofs

August 3, 2012

Experimental Study of Upward Flame Spread of an Inclined Fuel Surface

Fire spread
Fire spread occurs because of
transfer of thermal energy
from flames to virgin fuel

1. Flame-Spread Rate = f()


2. Mass-Loss Rate = f()

qf ( x, t )
Excess
Pyrolyzate

t ~ xn
Vp

yf

qp

mf H cQ

xf

xp
August 3, 2012

Experimental Study of Upward Flame Spread of an Inclined Fuel Surface

Experimental setup

August 3, 2012

Experimental Study of Upward Flame Spread of an Inclined Fuel Surface

Effects of orientation

*Video

is shown at 5 times actual speed

August 3, 2012

Experimental Study of Upward Flame Spread of an Inclined Fuel Surface

Spread Velocity
0.09

Underside measurements
(-60 to 0) have not been
reported before

0.08

Spread Rate, Vp (cm/s)

0.07
0.06
0.05

The peak velocity appears


between 0 and -30

0.04
0.03
Vp (This study, w=10cm)
0.02
0.01
0

1.
2.
3.

Pizzo (model)
Pizzo (exp, w=20cm)
Drydale and Macmillian (w=6cm)
Xie and DesJardin (model)
-60

-45

-30

0
30
Angle of Inclination,

45

60

Y. Pizzo, J.L. Consalvi, B. Porterie, Comb. Flame. 156 (2009) 1856-1859.


D. Drysdale, A. Macmillan. Fire Safety J. 18, no. 3 (1992): 245-254.
W. Xie, P. Desjardin, Comb. Flame. 156 (2009) 522-530.

August 3, 2012

Experimental Study of Upward Flame Spread of an Inclined Fuel Surface

Mass-loss Rate per unit Area


Steady rates from larger gas
burner is qualitatively similar

Steady rates from smaller


PMMA samples are parabolic
Steady rates averaged 800-1000
seconds after uniform ignition
Spreading rates measured when
xp reaches top of sample

1.
2.

H. Ohtani, K. Ohta, Y. Uehara, Fire Mat. 18 (1991) 323-193.


de Ris, J, L. Orloff. Proc. Comb. Inst. 15 (1975) 175-182.

August 3, 2012

Experimental Study of Upward Flame Spread of an Inclined Fuel Surface

Inclined Flame Spread & Burning


Flame Spread

Steady Burning
10


Mass-loss Rate (g/m2s)

0.09
0.08

0.06
0.05

0.09

0.04

0.08

0.03

0.07

Vp (This study, w=10cm)


0.02
0.01
0

Spread Rate (cm/s)

Spread
Rate,
Rate,
Spread
Vp V(cm/s)
p (cm/s)

0.07

Pizzo
(model)
0.06
Pizzo (exp, w=20cm)
Drydale
and Macmillian (w=6cm)
0.05
Xie and DesJardin (model)
0.04 -45
-60

-30

0
30
Angle
of
Inclination,

Angle of Inclination,

45

7
6

PMMA, Steady Burning

5
4

PMMA, Spreading
3
2
-60

60

Gas Burner, 65 cm [5]

-45

-30

30

45

60

Angle
of
Inclination,

0.03
Vp (This Study, w=10cm)

0.02

Pizzo (Model)
Pizzo (Exp, w=20cm)
Drydale and Macmillian (w=6cm)
Xie and DesJardin (Model)

0.01
0
-80

1.
2.
3.

-60

-40

-20
0
20
Angle of Inclination,

40

60

80

Y. Pizzo, J.L. Consalvi, B. Porterie, Comb. Flame. 156 (2009) 1856-1859. 4.


D. Drysdale, A. Macmillan. Fire Safety J. 18, no. 3 (1992): 245-254.
5.
W. Xie, P. Desjardin, Comb. Flame. 156 (2009) 522-530.

August 3, 2012

H. Ohtani, K. Ohta, Y. Uehara, Fire Mat. 18 (1991) 323-193.


de Ris, J, L. Orloff. Proc. Comb. Inst. 15 (1975) 175-182.

Experimental Study of Upward Flame Spread of an Inclined Fuel Surface

Radiant-Flux Estimates
Total Heat Flux (estimated from
mass-loss rates)
Maximum heat flux in
combusting plume
Estimated radiant contribution
(from heat flux gauges)

rr

q q m H p
qrr Tp 4 6.1 kW/m2
August 3, 2012

Experimental Study of Upward Flame Spread of an Inclined Fuel Surface

Radiant-Flux Estimates

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Experimental Study of Upward Flame Spread of an Inclined Fuel Surface

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10

Flame-Standoff Distance

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Experimental Study of Upward Flame Spread of an Inclined Fuel Surface

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Flame-Standoff Distance

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Experimental Study of Upward Flame Spread of an Inclined Fuel Surface

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Flame Shape

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Experimental Study of Upward Flame Spread of an Inclined Fuel Surface

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Width Effects

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Experimental Study of Upward Flame Spread of an Inclined Fuel Surface

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Heat-Flux Profiles
15
10

2
1
0.5
0.25

-60o
-45o
-30o
0o
30o
45o
60o
1.2

1.4

1.6
1.8

2.2

x / xp
Power-law fit:
August 3, 2012

qf ( x) A( x / x p )n
Experimental Study of Upward Flame Spread of an Inclined Fuel Surface

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Conclusions
Flame-spread rates were found to be greatest in
near-vertical orientations while burning rates are
maximized in near-horizontal orientations.
Qualitative trends, including the spread-rate
maximum at angles slightly less than vertical, are
general and should also apply in strictly 2D
configurations in the size range studied or larger.

Further study of the spread-rate maximum at angles


slightly less than vertical is continuing.

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Experimental Study of Upward Flame Spread of an Inclined Fuel Surface

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Acknowledgements
Alexander Marcacci, Ulrich Neimann and Mario
Zuniga for their contributions to laboratory
experiments
John de Ris, Jose Torero, Adam Cowlard and Yuji
Nakamura for valuable discussions
Support from the Society of Fire Protection Engineers

Supported by:
Society of Fire Protection Engineers
Educational and Scientific Foundation
August 3, 2012

Experimental Study of Upward Flame Spread of an Inclined Fuel Surface

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Side-view during flame spread.

18

Constant Heat Flux in Models

Tsai, K. (2009). Width effect on upward flame spread. Fire Safety Journal, 44(7), 962-967.
August 3, 2012

Experimental Study of Upward Flame Spread of an Inclined Fuel Surface

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Measurement of Heat Flux


Thin-Skin Calorimeter

Combined heat flux from calorimeter


(accounting for losses)

qi qc qr qsto qc ,st

qi
qc
qr
qc , st
qsto

American Society of Testing and Materials, Standard ASTM E 459-97


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Experimental Study of Upward Flame Spread of an Inclined Fuel Surface

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Heat Flux in Flame-Spread Models

q constant

q = constant

One of few models with q(x) [1]

1. Sibulkin and Kim, Comb. Sci. Tech. vol. 17, 1977


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Experimental Study of Upward Flame Spread of an Inclined Fuel Surface

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Heat Flux in Combusting Plume


-90o

-60o

50

50

50

40

40

40

30

30

30

Y-location (cm)

-45o

10

15

-30o

10

15

0o

50

40

40

40

30

30

30

15

45o

10

10

15

15

1500
1000

30o

50

10

2000
5

50

Heat Flux
W/m2

500

10

15

60o

50

90o

50
50

40

40

30

30
5

10

15

40
30
5

10

15

10

15

X-location (cm)
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Sensor Locations
60
55
50
45
40
35
30
25
20

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20
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TC Readings 0

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TC Readings 60

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TC Readings -60

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This is the title of a slide

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Experimental Study of Upward Flame Spread of an Inclined Fuel Surface

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