Xinyan Huang

Department of Mechanical Engineering
Imperial College London, x.huang12@imperial.ac.uk
Michael Gollner
Department of Fire Protection Engineering
University of Maryland, mgollner@umd.edu
11th International Symposium on Fire Safety Science
9-14 Feb. 2014, University of Canterbury, New Zealand

1.

Introduction and Previous Work

2.

Description of Flame

3.

Flame Length and Mass-loss Rate

4.

Flame Thickness and Tilt Angle

5.

Conclusions

11th International Symposium on Fire Safety Science
9-14 Feb. 2014, University of Canterbury, New Zealand

2

1.

Introduction and Previous Work

2.

Description of Flame

3.

Flame Length and Mass-loss Rate

4.

Flame Thickness and Tilt Angle

5.

Conclusions

11th International Symposium on Fire Safety Science
9-14 Feb. 2014, University of Canterbury, New Zealand

3

 PMMA: 20×10×1.27 cm
 3 camera (top, side, and

back)
 Load cell: 15 Hz, ±0.5 g
o K-type TCs × 7
o Thin-skin heat flux

sensor × 19
o Ignition: 1 cm wick

soaked with fuel
ignites for 1 min
[1] Gollner et al., Proc. Combust. Inst., 34 (2) (2013) 2531-2538

4

5

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, θ

45

9

7
6

4

PMMA, Spreading
3

Vp (This Study, w=10cm)

-30

0

30

45

60

 Spread rate peaks nears vertical wall fire

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

0.01

-45

 






Angle
of
Inclination,
θ

0.03
0.02

PMMA, Steady Burning

5

2
-60

60

Gas Burner, 65 cm [5]

8

 Burning rate increases with inclination (𝜃)

0
-80

-60

-40

-20
0
20
Angle of Inclination, 

40

60

[1] Gollner et al., Proc. Combust. Inst., 34 (2) (2013) 2531-2538
[2] Y. Pizzo, J.L. Consalvi, B. Porterie, Comb. Flame. 156 (2009) 1856-1859.
[3] D. Drysdale, A. Macmillan. Fire Safety J. 18, no. 3 (1992): 245-254.

May 15, 2012

80

[4] W. Xie, P. Desjardin, Comb. Flame. 156 (2009) 522-530.
[5] H. Ohtani, K. Ohta, Y. Uehara, Fire Mat. 18 (1991) 323-193.
[6] de Ris, J, L. Orloff. Proc. Comb. Inst. 15 (1975) 175-182.

6

6

1.

Introduction and Previous Work

2.

Description of Flame

3.

Flame Length and Mass-loss Rate

4.

Flame Thickness and Tilt Angle

5.

Conclusions

11th International Symposium on Fire Safety Science
9-14 Feb. 2014, University of Canterbury, New Zealand

7

1.

Flame height (𝑥𝑓 ): 𝑥𝑓 ~ 𝑥𝑝 ~ 𝑡, 𝑥𝑓 ~ 𝑚′

2.

Flame thickness (𝐻 = 𝑦𝑓,𝑚𝑎𝑥 )

3.

Tilt angle (𝜙): degree of lift off

[1] Gollner et al., Proc. Combust. Inst., 34 (2) (2013) 2531-2538

8

Front-view
camera

Side-view
camera

Pyrolysis
front (𝑥𝑝 )

 For this small-scale test (𝑥𝑝 <20 cm), the spread

rate (𝑉𝑝 ) was previously found to be constant [1].
 Two measurements of 𝑥𝑓 from front-view and

side-view overlap well.
 Two common correlations 𝐴𝑥𝑝𝑛 𝑥𝑓

= 𝑘𝑥𝑝
+ 𝑏
[1] Gollner et al., Proc. Combust. Inst., 34 (2) (2013) 2531-2538

9

Parabolic fit (𝑥𝑓 ~𝑥𝑝2 ) is
better if the spread
time >500 𝑠
Linear fit is good for
t < 500 𝑠

10

Slope 𝒌: 𝑥𝑓 = 𝑘𝑥𝑝 + 𝑏
Burning rate 𝒎′
Steady & Spread

Exponent 𝒏: 𝑥𝑓 = 𝐴𝑥𝑝𝑛

 In linear fit, 𝑥𝑓 = 𝑘𝑥𝑝 + 𝑏 (𝑡 < 500 s), slope 𝑘 continuously increases with

inclination angle (𝜃), same trend as the burning rate (𝑚′ ).

 For power-law fit, 𝑥𝑓 = 𝐴𝑥𝑝𝑛
 𝜃 = 0° (vertical wall fire), 𝑛 = 0.86 agree with 𝑛 = 0.78 and 0.8 in literatures.
 Generally, 𝑛 = 0.85 is a good approximation ⇒ 𝒙𝒇 ~ 𝑽𝒑 𝒕 𝟎

.𝟖𝟓

~𝒕𝟎.𝟖𝟓

(early-stage, small-scale fires, 𝑡 < 500 s)

11

1.

Introduction and Previous Work

2.

Description of Flame

3.

Flame Length and Mass-loss Rate

4.

Flame Thickness and Tilt Angle

5.

Conclusions

11th International Symposium on Fire Safety Science
9-14 Feb. 2014, University of Canterbury, New Zealand

12

 Mass-loss (burning) rate (𝒎′ ) and heat-release rate (HRR, 𝑸′ ) 𝑄

′ = ∆𝐻𝑐 𝑚′ = ∆𝐻𝑐 𝑚′′ 𝑥𝑝 𝑥𝑓
= 𝐹(𝑥𝑝 ) 𝒑 𝒙𝒇

~ 𝑸′ ~ 𝒎′

 Delichatsios’ scaling analysis 𝑚

′ = 𝑓𝑥𝑓 𝛼𝜌𝑎 𝑢𝑔 𝒑

[7]

(𝑢𝑔 : characteristic gas velocity)

where 𝑓 is F/A stoich. ratio; 𝛼 is entrainment coefficient; and 𝜌𝑎 is air density.
 Turbulent mixing controlled plume: 𝒖𝒈 ~ 𝒙𝒇 𝒈 𝒙𝒇

~ 𝑚′ / 𝛼𝜌𝑎 𝑓 𝑔

2/3 ~ 𝒎

′ 𝟐

/𝟑 ~ 𝑄

2/3

(𝑝 = 2/3)

 Laminar diffusion controlled plume: 𝒖𝒈 ~𝑫/𝒂 with 𝑎 = 𝒙𝒇

~ 𝑚 ′

4/3 / 𝜌𝑓

𝜌𝑎 𝑓 2 𝐷 𝑔

2/3

~ 𝒎′ 𝟒

/𝟑 ~

 In vertical wall fire, 𝑝 ≈ 1 for cardboard 𝑄

4/3 𝑚

′ /(𝑓𝜌𝑓 ) [8] 𝑥𝑓
𝑔

(𝑝 = 4/3)

and 𝑝 = 1~1.25 for PMMA and gas
burner. However, the theoretical limiting values of 𝑝 = 2/3 and 𝑝 = 4/3 have
never been found before.
[8],

[7] Delichatsios, M. A. Combust. Sci. & Tech., 39(1-6):195–214, 1984.
[8] Gollner et al., Combustion and Flame, 158(7):1404 – 1412, 2011.

13

Turbulent

 For 𝜃 > 30°, 𝑝 < 1 and approach limiting value of 2/3.
 Boundary-layer separation (turbulence) is clear.
 𝑄′ > 20 kW/m suggests that turbulent mixing dominates the flame behavior.
14

Transition

 For vertical wall fire (𝜃 = 0° ), 𝑝 ≈ 1 and 𝑄 ′ ≈ 20 kW/m agrees with literature.
 Usually, 𝑄′ = 20 kW/m is the critical value from laminar to turbulent transition.
 Almost a boundary-layer plume, but the flame tip starts to separate.
15

Laminar

 For underside flame (𝜃 < 0° ), 𝑝 ≈ 4/3, 𝑄′ < 20 kW/m, and no boundary-layer

separation is observed, suggesting molecular diffusion is dominant.
 The underside burning can delay the transition to a turbulent flame.
16

 First time to experimentally verify the two theoretical limiting values (𝑝 = 4/3 & 2/3).
 In small-scale laboratory tests, flame behavior may be appreciably modified towards

laminar or turbulent, simply by inclining the fuel surface downwards or upwards.

17

1.

Introduction and Previous Work

2.

Description of Flame

3.

Flame Length and Mass-loss Rate

4.

Flame Thickness and Tilt Angle

5.

Conclusions

11th International Symposium on Fire Safety Science
9-14 Feb. 2014, University of Canterbury, New Zealand

18

 Flame thickness (𝐻) is defined as the maximum flame standoff distance (𝑦𝑓,𝑚𝑎𝑥 )

 𝐻 increases during spread and approaches constant after spread stops.
 Flame thickness increases with inclination (𝜃), suggesting the radiation heat flux

to the burning region (𝑥 < 𝑥𝑝 ) and the burning rate (𝒎′ ) increases with 𝜽.

 Flame lift off increases with the flame thickness, decreasing the convective heat

flux to unburned region (𝑥 > 𝑥𝑝 ), and spread rate

⇒ lift-off is inversely proportional to 𝑽𝒑 .

19

Tilt angle (𝜙) in
respect to the
fuel surface
 10 continuous side-view photos are averaged, averaging flame fluctuations.
 Flame tilt angle is defined by a line dividing the image into two regions with the

same total luminance → useful to estimate radiation heat flux and view angle
 At θ ≤ 0°, tilt angle (𝜙) decreases with time ⇒ a negligible flame separation

 At θ = 30°, tilt angle (𝜙) is a constant ⇒ flame starts to separate
 At θ > 30°, tilt angle (𝜙) increases with time ⇒ a strong flame separation

20

1/𝑉𝑝 𝜙
= 1.57𝑒 0.045𝜃

 Tilt angle (𝜙) can be fitted as 𝜙 = 1.57𝑒 0.045𝜃 , and reaches the maximum

value of 90° at pool fire (𝜃= 90°).
 Follows the trend of 1/𝑉𝑝

⇒ Flame separation decreases the heat flux to the unburnt fuel, therefore
reducing the flame spread rate.
21

1.

Introduction and Previous Work

2.

Description of Flame

3.

Flame Length and Mass-loss Rate

4.

Flame Thickness and Tilt Angle

5.

Conclusions

11th International Symposium on Fire Safety Science
9-14 Feb. 2014, University of Canterbury, New Zealand

22

 For early-stage, small-scale PMMA fires, flame length is proportional

to pyrolysis length at all inclinations, and increases as 𝒙𝒇 ~𝒕𝟎.𝟖𝟓 .

 Underside flame spread (𝜃 < 0°) is found to be turbulence-

suppressed and diffusion-controlled: 𝒙𝒇 ~ 𝒎′ 𝟒

/𝟑

.

 Topside flame spread (𝜃 > 0°) satisfies the turbulent-mixing

correlation: 𝒙𝒇 ~ 𝒎′ 𝟐

/𝟑

.

 Flame thickness increases with inclination, supporting the trends of

flame spread rate and burning rate.
 Flame tilt angle increases with inclination, being inversely

proportional to flame-spread rate 𝑉𝑝 .

11th International Symposium on Fire Safety Science
9-14 Feb. 2014, University of Canterbury, New Zealand

23

 Valuable comments from Forman Williams and Ali Rangwala

during the first stage of this work.
 Assistance from Charles Marcacci, Jeanette Cobian, and Ulrich

Niemann with laboratory experiments.

11th International Symposium on Fire Safety Science
9-14 Feb. 2014, University of Canterbury, New Zealand

24

Xinyan Huang
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Imperial College London, x.huang12@imperial.ac.uk
Michael Gollner
Department of Fire Protection Engineering
University of Maryland, mgollner@umd.edu
11th International Symposium on Fire Safety Science
9-14 Feb. 2014, University of Canterbury, New Zealand