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Airborne Smoke Sampling Package for Field Measurements of Fires



James R. Lawson, George W. Mulholland, H Koseki


A unique airborne smoke sample package (ASSP) for determining the smoke yield of large fires has been developed. The uncertainty in the average smoke yield at the 95% confidence interval is about +7% of the average of three repeat measurements. The ASSP, which weighs less than 4 kg, is light enough to be flown suspended below a tethered helium-filled balloon or attached to a small radio-controlled aircraft. Measurements are made by flying the sampling equipment into a fire's smoke plume. Additional smoke plume measurements that can be made with the ASSP include particle size distribution using a cascade impactor, smoke agglomerate structure using transmission electron microscope (TEM) grids, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) analysis using various sorbent tubes. The application of the ASSP in measuring laboratory and large outdoors petroleum pool fires is discussed. Smoke yield values measured in field burns of Louisiana crude oil range from 0.080 to 0.137, and the primary sphere diameter of the agglomerates is as large as 0.15 mum.
Special Publication (NIST SP) - 995
Report Number


smoke, fire research, measuring instruments, oils, pool fires, smoke yield, airborne sampling, experiments


Lawson, J. , Mulholland, G. and Koseki, H. (2003), Airborne Smoke Sampling Package for Field Measurements of Fires, Special Publication (NIST SP), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD (Accessed April 17, 2024)
Created March 1, 2003, Updated August 7, 2014