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Journal ArticleDOI

Mechanisms of microgravity flame spread over a thin solid fuel - Oxygen and opposed flow effects

01 Jan 1991-Combustion Science and Technology (Taylor & Francis Group)-Vol. 76, pp 233-249
TL;DR: In this article, a flame spread map is presented which indicates three distinct regions where different mechanisms control the flame spread process: near-quenching region, very low characteristic relative velocities, a new controlling mechanism for flame spread - oxidizer transport-limited chemical reaction - is proposed.
Abstract: Microgravity tests varying oxygen concentration and forced flow velocity have examined the importance of transport processes on flame spread over very thin solid fuels. Flame spread rates, solid phase temperature profiles and flame appearance for these tests are measured. A flame spread map is presented which indicates three distinct regions where different mechanisms control the flame spread process. In the near-quenching region (very low characteristic relative velocities) a new controlling mechanism for flame spread - oxidizer transport-limited chemical reaction - is proposed. In the near-limit, blowoff region, high opposed flow velocities impose residence time limitations on the flame spread process. A critical characteristic relative velocity line between the two near-limit regions defines conditions which result in maximum flammability both in terms of a peak flame spread rate and minimum oxygen concentration for steady burning. In the third region, away from both near-limit regions, the flame spread behavior, which can accurately be described by a thermal theory, is controlled by gas-phase conduction.
Citations
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, a review of the progress that has been made to the understanding of chemical and physical processes, which occur during combustion of solid fuels, is presented, and the effects of bubble formation on the transport of volatiles during thermal degradation of non-charring fuels, described through a one-step global reaction, have been modeled.

434 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, a series of microgravity, low oxidizer flow velocity, experiments where soot volume fraction measurements have been conducted on a laminar, flat plate boundary layer type diffusion flame.
Abstract: Local soot concentrations in non-buoyant laminar diffusion flames have been demonstrated to be the outcome of two competitive processes, soot formation and soot oxidation. It was first believed that soot formation was the controlling mechanism and thus soot volume fractions could be scaled with a global residence time. Later studies showed that this is not necessarily the case and the local ratio of the soot formation and oxidation residence times is the prime variable controlling the ultimate local soot volume fractions. This ratio is a strong function of geometry and flow field, thus a very difficult variable to properly quantify. This study presents a series of microgravity, low oxidizer flow velocity, experiments where soot volume fraction measurements have been conducted on a laminar, flat plate boundary layer type diffusion flame. The objective of the study is to determine if the above observations apply to this type of diffusion flames. The fuel is ethylene and is injected through a flat plate poro...

286 citations

01 Jan 2007

269 citations


Cites background from "Mechanisms of microgravity flame sp..."

  • ...Such a maximum has been observed for opposed flame spread (Olson, 1991) and the present results suggest that a maximum may be also present for cocurrent flame spread since its propagation is strongly dependent on the flame length....

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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors consider the opportunities for enhanced fundamental combustion understanding from experiments where effects of buoyancy are eliminated, and the new challenges of fire safety considerations in non-buoyant (spacecraft) environments.

182 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: A critical, historical review of the flame spread literature is given in this article, beginning with the first systematic studies of opposed-flow flame spread, including qualitative, simplified, and comprehensive numerical modeling.

179 citations

References
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Journal ArticleDOI
01 Jan 1969
TL;DR: In this article, a theoretical description of a laminar diffusion flame spreading against an air stream over a solid- or liquid-fuel bed is presented, where both a thin sheet and a semi-infinite fuel bed are considered.
Abstract: A theoretical description is presented for a laminar diffusion flame spreading against an air stream over a solid- or liquid-fuel bed. Both a thin sheet and a semi-infinite fuel bed are considered. The burning process is described as follows: The hot flame heats the unburned fuel bed, which subsequently vaporizes. The resulting fuel vapor reacts with the oxygen supplied by the incoming air, thereby producing the heat that maintains the flame-spread process. The formulated model treats the combustion as a diffusion flame, for which the details of the reaction kinetics can be ignored by assuming infinite reaction rates. The model includes the chemical stoichiometry, heat of combustion, gas-phase conductive heat transfer, radiation, mass transfer, fuel vaporization, and fuel-bed thermal properties. The radiation is mathematically treated as a heat loss at the flame sheet and a heat gain at the fuel-bed surface. The calculated flame-spread formulas are not inconsistent with available experimental data. These results reveal much of the physics involved in a spreading, flame. For instance, the flame-spread rate is strongly influenced by (1) the adiabatic stoichiometric flame temperature, and (2) the fuel-bed thermal properties, except for the fuel-bed conductivity parallel to the propagation direction.

356 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, heat transfer and gas phase chemical kinetic aspects of the flame spread process are addressed separately for the spread of flames in oxidizing flows that oppose or concur with the direction of propagation.
Abstract: Recent advances in the experimental study of the mechanisms controlling the spread of flames over the surface of combustible solids are summarized in this work. The heat transfer and gas phase chemical kinetic aspects of the flame spread process are addressed separately for the spread of flames in oxidizing flows that oppose or concur with the direction of propagation. The realization that, in most practical situations, the spread of fire in opposed gas flows occurs at near extinction or non-propagating conditions is particularly significant. Under these circumstances, gas phase chemical kinetics plays a critical role and it must be considered if realistic descriptions of the flame spread process are attempted. In the concurrent mode of flame spread, heat transfer from the flame to the unburnt fuel appears to be the primary controlling mechanism. Although gas phase chemcial kinetics is unimportant in the flame spreading process, it is important in the establishment and extension of the diffusion ...

266 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the steady-state flame spread over a thermally thin solid fuel is investigated, and qualitative agreement is obtained with experimental results in the near-extinction limit region.

183 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors show that buoyancy influences the downward spread rate of flames consuming thermally thin fuel beds, and that a small change in orientation with respect to the vertical is equivalent to a change in the magnitude of gravity in the direction of spread.

131 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
01 Jan 1989
TL;DR: In this article, the flame behavior is observed to depend strongly on the magnitude of the relative velocity between the flame and the atmosphere, and a low velocity quenching limit is found in low oxgen environments.
Abstract: Diffusion flame spread over a thin solid fuel in quiescent and slowly moving atmospheres is studied in microgravity. The flame behavior is observed to depend strongly on the magnitude of the relative velocity between the flame and the atmosphere. In particular, a low velocity quenching limit is found to exist in low oxgen environments. Using both the microgravity results and previously published data at high opposed-flow velocities, the flame spread behavior is examined over a wide velocity range. A flammability map using molar oxygen percentages and characteristic relative velocities as coordinates is constructed. Trends of flame spread rate are determined and mechanisms for flame extinction are discussed.

122 citations