LABORATORY 1: POOL FIRE LABORATORY
September 14, 2009
a known volume (250 mL) of the test fuels was placed into a metal baking pan. In it. and the contour within the pan. and at the top. The cup burner test is meaningful for calibration of systems.1 Test Setup and Experimental Procedure In the pool fire test. The flash point is a meaningful measurement because it provides a guideline for the conditions necessary for ignition of a material. the diameter was 21. including flame height and color (as determined retroactively through video). This test showed the flame characteristics of methanol. The second test was the pool fire test.5 cm. The height of the fuel within the pan was very small with respect to the pan height. as well as the experimental determination of material properties. the naphthalene and paraffin oil have relatively high flash points.1.
. The first test was the cup burner test. each intended to demonstrate a different set of fire characteristics through a standard test.5 cm.5-cm diameter pan and allowed to burn out. as well as the associated flammability limits. At the base of the pan. which employed the ASTMD56 and ASTMD92 test standards to determine the flash point and flame point of a given liquid.1 Pool Fire Test: Heptane and Methanol 2. A thermocouple was placed into the small container to determine the temperature at which the pool ignited and sustained a flame. [dimensions of fire]. 22. where 230 g of methanol was ignited in a 23. In this case. Approach 2. and 2. Introduction This experiment was divided into two subsections.1.
. and a chronograph was used as a redundant measurement system to ensure that the proper duration was recorded. Thermocouples were located at the following heights (in m) above the bottom of the baking pan: . .5 m corresponded to the thermocouple that was called number 12.1705 kg
= the density of heptane
Therefore.5. The thermocouples were numbered in order ascending from the thermocouple closest to the pan. Methanol was also used in this lab.1.8. . After ensuring that all observers were a safe distance away. 2.25 L = 0.
= 0.6. so the bottom of the pan was .3.05.1 Average Mass Loss Rate
∆ tl m Ý mv = toa a g tb
∆ = the fuel mass burned m
tb = measured burn time
∆ m=ρ ρ
*V = 0.7.2.0. 2. .1705kg/248s = 6. time) was checked.2 Calculations The calculations shown here are for heptane. A thermocouple tree was positioned along the centerline of the pan.2. . but the number 11 was not used (the height of 1. the pan fire was lit and observations recorded.1.1.25. 1.875*10^-3 kg/s
2.0. 1.2 Quasi-Steady Mass Loss Rate
.2 m above the ground.5. . .The pan was mounted atop a load cell. The data acquisition system (mass and temperature at each thermocouple v.9.682 kg/L*0. 2.4.) These heights were used to estimate the flame heights after ignition. 1.
Therefore.Figure [ ] reports the recorded mass at each point of the fuel burning.35*(1.1. occurs from t= to t=.85kW
2.5 Energy Release Rate Estimated from Pan Size
χ = the combustion efficiency
H χ = ∆ ch ∆ T H
Using the tables found on 3-111 we find the value of χ to be .
∆ us mi Ýi ma = qa qs u ∆qs tui a
Ý muasi = ( q 2.02 D )
L= the flame height D= the pan diameter found by using 4As/π
= 37.1. time curve is relatively steady.56kJ/g = 60.92 kW
2.2 A-38. 44. The quasi-steady burning period.56 kJ/g -Table C.2.2.48g/s*0.35( L + 1.2.4 Energy Release Rate Estimated from Flame Length The average energy release rate from flame length is
5/2 Q L = 37.004 m+1.02*0.9238 using this value we can now solve the equation above
= 1.2605 m)5/2 = 67. where the slope of the mass v.9238*44.3 Average Energy Release Rate Using the average mass loss rate we can determine the average energy release rate by using
Q = m ⋅ χ ⋅ ∆hc
∆ c= the heat of combustion.1.
∆ c= the heat of combustion h ∆ c= 44.56MJ/kg h As = π*D2/4=π*(0.2605m)2/4 = 0. After assembly. A single thermocouple was inserted into the cup with the fuel to record temperature.1 Test Setup and Experimental Procedure The apparatus was assembled with a small cup positioned atop a heater.0533 m2
χ = 0. This cup was filled with ~50 mL of the fuel (naphthalene / paraffin oil) at room temperature and placed upon the heater.2605) = 55. The rate of heating was about 10 degrees every seven seconds in the naphthalene test and 10 degrees every 24 seconds for the paraffin oil.13
k = empirical constant coinciding with the radiative properties of the fuel.2kW
2. the heater was turned on gradually in order to raise the fuel temperature.101kg/ (m2-s)*0. below the smoke ventilator.9238.
′′ m∞ =0.1*0. The pilot was lit
. which was displayed on an external unit adjacent to the heater.2.0533m2*(1-e-1. The test setup is shown in figure 1.9238*44.1 m-1 β
Q D = 0.The energy release rate can be estimated from the pan with
′′ QD = ∆hc ⋅ χ ⋅ m∞ As (1 − e −kβD )
A = the surface area of the pool s
′′ m∞ = the radiation dominated mass flux Table 3-1.56*0.101 kg/ (m2-s)
k =1.2 Ignition Tests: Naphthalene and Paraffin Oil 2. Table 3-1.
.128kg/mol*. Thin clouds of black smoke were produced from the billowing flames. Results are in table 1.2 Ignition Test Calculations The Clausius-Clayperon relationship is used to estimate the fuel volume fraction at the fuel surface at ignition. and listed off to one side during burning. 2. Figures  show these flame characteristics. fire point.995 3. calculations for naphthalene are shown.1. 8.314kJ/mol*(1/491-1/369) X2 =. Results 3. the fire was observed to immediately hit a steady state fire. and table  summarizes the resulting measurements. and flash point were recorded in table 1 for each fuel and each trial.314 kJ/ mol X2= e^(.1 Pool Fire Results 3.
Ln ( M * h fg 1 X2 1 )= ( − ) X1 R T1 T2
X2 = Fuel Volume fraction at surface at T2 (Kelvin) X1 = Fuel volume fraction at surface at T1 (Kelvin) (used 1.3645kJ/kg)/ 8. T1 was the boiling point.1 Observations Figure  shows the setup and measurement devices used for both pool fire tests.) M= Molar mass of desired fuel kg/mol hfg = Enthalpy of Vaporization kJ/kg R= Gas Law Constant.2.and slowly vacillated over the fuel. The fire plume appeared concentrated to one side of the pan. For the heptane fire. Temperatures for the smoke point.
2 Measurements 3. and but were not sustained until about 1 minute after the beginning of the fire. at which point it began to wane. The fire decreased to about ½ of its previous height over the next 30 seconds. The methanol fire was burning the entire pan in less than three seconds. Between 3 and 4 minutes.2.1. and was characterized by smaller yellow flames with less wrinkling. the yellow flames comprised the greater portion of the upper half of the flame. the flames were concentrated around the perimeter of the pan. which seemed concentrated to the right side of the pan. and the burn time of methanol was 7 minutes. measured from the lowest thermocouple. beginning 20 seconds after the start of the fire. The flames continued to wane and became entirely yellow and orange by 6:00. and were localized to one side of the pan until slowly reaching extinction. Around this time. The flame waned beginning about 4:30 into the fire.1 Overall Fire Behavior The summary of both fuel types can be found in Table . The flame height stayed below the second thermocouple in the tree (.4 m above the bottom of the pan) for most of the fire.
. The burn time for heptane was roughly 4 minutes. and abruptly (in a span of less than three seconds) was extinct.The flame height remained relatively constant.1. remaining within the same range for the first three minutes. At about 5 minutes. Traces of yellow flames were observed. A small blue flame was observed at the beginning of the experiment. the smoke evolved from the fire seemed to increase. 3. Both fires had a maximum burn temperature of around 900 degrees C. It was at this time that a greater degree of wrinkling was observed in the fire.
The book states that the radiative properties of alcohols such as methanol or ethanol in fact can be governed by the radiation dominated mass flux. The thermocouples were 1.2.25 mm in diameter and the error for the thermocouples can be illustrated using the equation
ρC p D / 6h = τ
The larger the τ value means a larger discrepancy between the temperature of the thermocouple and that of the actual fire.1. Both fires experienced a quick rise in heat when ignited and then remained at a relatively constant temperature heat
. time in Figure 5. Our first approach found the energy release rate based on burn time and the total mass consumed
(Q ) . The book provides separate values for certain fuels based on diameter. The third and final calculation related pool diameter along with the
radiative properties for each fuel
. 3.This error is due to the design and size of the particular thermocouples used. For Methanol this third calculation was slightly
altered due to studies discussed in the SFPE handbook.2 Energy Release Rate We used three different approaches in order to find the energy release rates for our particular fuels.3 Heat Flux The heat flux has been plotted vs.1. 3. By taking These values can be found using Table 3.2. The values in Table 1 provide valuable information in making the desired calculations for the energy release rates for each particular fuel. The second approach involved a correlation between
the energy release rates from the experimental flame heights along with our calculated diameter
For heptane the average value for this area of the curve was approximately 5. Also the burn room was not isolated from the air flow in the room causing the flame to not have a complete vertical alignment. Another possible error was found when the pool fires were close to extinction. Even with the multiple possibilities for error the multiple Heat release rate values proved to be very consistent. methanol was only about . Since the flame height estimation is based upon a vertical measurement system this provides another source of error. This trend may have affected the burn time and come into play while calculating the mass loss rate which was used to find our energy release rate. 3. The thermocouples also contain error due to the radiative properties of the materials in the burn room.1. One of the possible errors lies within our ability to determine the flame height of the fires.output for the duration of the fire until the fuel was exhausted. These values can be calculated by using the data the heat flux device provided us in volts and converting with our conversion factor of 6800 kW/volt. The pan in which the fires were burning seemed to have a slight incline causing the fuel to tend towards one side. This reading will be able to show us how the fire behaved relating heat flux to a specified time.82 kW. The flame room had inadequate lighting and when the fire was not particularly bright the estimation of flame height can become a difficult undertaking.25 kW.3 Analysis and Discussion There are several errors which may have occurred in this lab that may have affected our results for our heat release rate and mass flux readings. The colder brick walls would have affected the readings due to the relationship discussed in section IV 1.
3. Due to the consistency of our calculations concerning heat release rate and the verification of the steady state fire we were able to clearly illustrate the behavior and fire characteristics.2. There was no visible smoke or distinguishable flash point.2. The flash point began at 326. This may have caused us to get a higher value for the flame point due to the interruptions. The first test we ran consisted of mineral spirits.During the small scale fire testing we came to the conclusion that we were dealing with a transient fire in the initial phase. The fire point was 57. At around 158 degrees we started to notice bubbling in the fuel and smoking started at around 254 degrees. as predicted for pool fires.Open Cup Test Figure 2 shows the setup used for the open cup test.2.3 Surface Concentration
.2.1 Observations.2. 3.6 degrees C. After a brief period of growth the fire characteristics turned towards a steady state process for both fuels.2 Flash Point and Fire Point 3.2. The next fuel we used was cooking oil.2 Measurements 3. From these results we are able to clearly demonstrate that small scale testing can be used as an effective tool for modeling larger scale fires that occur in real life situations.2. While trying to distinguish the flame point the pilot fire continued to go out due to the lack of oxygen.4 degrees and continued until the flame point occurred at 376 degrees.2 Ignition Test Results 3.2.1 Overall Fire Behavior 3.
n-hexane. For most sources the boiling point of cooking oil was found to be around 300 degrees Celsius which relates that value to a mol fraction of one.2. By plugging in the various elements in the equation we calculated the mol fraction of mineral oil to be . Several problems arose when attempting to calculate the mol fraction of cooking oil at our desired temperature.995. At the point of boiling intuitively the mol fraction is equal to one simplifying the equation. This value along with the other values applicable for the equation can be found on Table 2. Comparing this to the given lower flammability of . First the Clausius-Clayperon equation relates the mol fractions of pure substances.3 Analysis and Discussion
4. The first problem arises when trying to find the Enthalpy of Vaporization for cooking oil. Conclusion By using the Clausius-Clayperon equation we are able to determine the mol fractions at the surface at a particular temperature. Only by further inspection can be determine that even with the significant values the equation provides us with an impossible result.3. For mineral spirits we estimated the temperature @ boiling to be 175 degrees Celsius. cooking oil is a complex compound. This complication makes the analysis of cooking oil far more difficult. The Enthalpy of Vaporization for mineral spirits is estimated by comparing it with a similar substance.77 our value is slightly higher. Our analysis from lab found the flash point to be 326 degrees Celsius and the flame point at
. This discrepancy may be due to the inability to recognize the flash point either because it was to faint or we were heating to rapidly for the substance to flash before the flame point starts.
J. 2002. An Introduction to Fire Dynamics 2nd edition. Quincy.
References  SFPE Handbook of Fire Protection Engineering 3rd edition. These measurements would force the desired mol fraction to result in a number greater than one. National Fire Protection Association.376 degrees Celsius. England. Fundamentals of Fire Phenomena. This result may be due to the properties of cooking oil as a complex compound.. J..  Quintiere. John Wiley & Sons Ltd. ed. 2006
.  Drysdale. Chichester England. D. MA. Chichester. This would explain the discrepancy in boiling points as well as making the Clausius-Clayperon equation unreliable. P. John Wiley & Sons Ltd. DiNenno. The substance may begin to boil separate components in the fuel at separate temperatures. 1998.